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Another band name that made me think that where the hell do they dig up these names from??? Well, I found out that Naumachia is Latin and means "naval combat". A cool name! Unlike 'Wrathorn'... However, the album's title doesn't say it all, thankfully.
These Polish guys started it all back in 1999. It took five years before the band entered the acknowledged Hertz Studio to record 'Wrathorn', their debut album. The band sound totally ready on this release; playing is tight, it feels spirited and very skilled it is, too. Naumachia's music consist of various elements, which they shamelessly mix together, and they do it well. There's death metal, prog elements, even rock bits thrown in. Keyboards are equally dominating as other instruments. Basically, Naumachia are kinsmen of Finnish bands such as Kalmah and Omnium Gatherum and Swedes Skyfire (the power metal element and synth-work especially), and in descending relation to such acts as Dark Tranquillity, Children Of Bodom and Soilwork. The list could go on forever... Naumachia have composed very melodic and therefore memorable, and interesting metal, which have both extreme and softer edges to it; anything from moody lighter pieces to blast beating shredding fury, and neither of these feel like it was forced. It's modern without falling into faggy emo pits where so much bands disappear nowadays. The best examples of Naumachia's song-smithing skills can be heard on fantastic opener 'Blustud', 'Vorpal', and huge title track with its funny ending, which is definitely worth hearing! There's some familiar melodies one cannot place, and this can be seen as positive or negative point. To me, it is okay. A few songs cannot climb to the level of the better ones, e.g. totally needless synth intro (come on, 'Bludstud' has its own short synth intro anyways!!!), and towards the end we got 'Lifeitis' and 'Sickened', which just can't bring anything new into goings. Okay, 'Sickened' has some Stratovarius style classical bits in it, but... They aren't bad songs, but could stand up more.
The sound is both finely honed yet still spirited, raw, at times. It fluctuates with what is needed, lives together with the music. I like it when guys do some small tricks with their instruments, it definitely adds vividness and raise the spirit. Vocals are a double-edged sword; it's angry and biting throaty growl, but bad lyrics are articulated badly. They sound quite a lot like Sakis from Rotting Christ, so I definitely like the vocals, but the lyrics suck. They handle the everyday shitty life, but then there's thing like "agnnazazar" and I'm baffled. Come on, sentences like "agonized minotaur in the maze of ordinary moments" and "you've got onto the track of terminator's dance" aren't very delicious, are they?! The lyrics are full of grammatical errors,and the printed ones are filled with typing errors, too (written by someone called Melissa and Psychoclown). Computerized booklet artwork does looks average, not bad nor very good.
'Wrathorn' is a very promising and partly strong debut album (if only every song was on the same level as the best ones...), and I think I have to hunt down the band's sophomore album 'Callous Kaghatos' (2007) now. This is a pretty sure pick for any fan of multi-faceted metal, who can stand growled vocals.
(originally written for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2008)