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This is pretty cool; definitely one of the most accessible and/or consistent Njiqahdda releases I've heard; no crappy ambient marathons here; just long stretches of rather strange vaguely Black Metal-ish stuff.
Like most of the band's best stuff, this is rather confusing stuff that's somewhere between The Angelic Process and Burzum, just with some rather interesting drums (polymetric blasts in Interiumka? really??). Big blasts of super fluffy tremelo'd guitars, completely indecipherable distorted vocals, a strangely fierce and perhaps determined vibe underpinning the whole thing. Perhaps the word I'm looking for here is focused?
Either way the riffs are pretty freakin' good. The repetitive, interwining guitars in Interiumka are real nice, while the first track (lvisblahblah.. seriously, fuck this crappy made up fin-ripping language) has this great, long and loopy 3/4 thing going to it; perhaps not as nicely structured as the middle two songs but no big deal, it's a real nice sound and rather atmospheric. The screeching, delayed-to-hell vocals and rather tasty bass playing add a really cool edge to it. I think that's one thing that really seperates Njiq from the billion or so other obsure black metal bands out there- they're really good at their instruments, and while it's rarely expressed openly (short of some pretty cool drum bits) it certainly helps make this an enjoyable listen.
All in all this is good, but falls short of great, as while there's plenty of really solid sections and inspired riffs most of the songs tend to be a bit long and wander around aimlessly for a time. Still, this is a pretty solid and well worth getting if you're into slightly fruity black metal.
This is very unlike anything I've heard so far in the way of atmospheric or post-rock or soundtrack-styled black metal. The first track especially, "Lvistagnagsetta", is very definitely BM in its use of grim and distorted BM-styled vocals and there are the vibrato guitars as well but the music also sounds very much like a soundtrack to an old Western set in the American desert: I think I can hear bluesy, almost clean-toned guitar lines alternating with wailing fuzz guitar. There is a wide spacious feel to the track too. When winds blow, I don't think "blizzards" or "snowstorms", I think "dust storms and tumbleweeds hurtling along the stony rocks" instead.
Njiqahdda seem to have taken a bit of a leaf out of Aidan Baker / Nadja's book with "Infertel": barely-there vocals covered over with slight distortion ebb and flow through the urgent music while noise winds blow around and add a slight layer of noise over the relatively clear bass guitar and crisp percussion. Though this is a 7-minute track, "Infertel" seems to end too quickly. The last few moments are quiet drone swirls that fade into the third track "Interiumka" where they form part of its long droning intro. The body of the track itself has a good blurry riff and the guitars have a hollow shaky howling tone. Vocals are coated in a lot of sandy noise and again drift in and out of the track. As with previous tracks, "Interiumka" fades into a long droning coda and while this particular rumbling drone isn't bad, I'm starting to get the impression that these droning beginnings and endings are too much like a safe default option for Njiqahdda for linking different pieces together to form a concept.
The final track "Ishymnyjers" has a strong driving rhythm section but otherwise seems less distinct from the others at first. About halfway through the song finds its identity with more complex drumming textures and the treated BM voices form a layer of throaty pulsing noise that almost but not quite blends in with the guitars.
The music on the whole possesses a strong individual style with unearthly vocals that seem to form from flurries of dust noise, excellent drumming that drives the music and gives it energy, and a desolate, abandoned feel. The first and third tracks are the best on this short album: these have a stronger atmosphere and the moods evoked are more definite. Generally the riffs don't seem individual to each track though "Interiumka" has stronger riffs than the other tracks; the music tends to rely on the fuzzy, noisy sounds and the vocal treatment for effect. The album is very like a soundtrack for an imaginary movie that may be set in some post-apocalyptic wasteland wherein dwell only ghosts of those who died in an all-out nuclear catastrophe. The only thing I find detracts a bit from this album is the droning interludes linking the four tracks.
I must start by saying that this album is much different than past Njiqahdda efforts in many different manners. But it seems as if every album this band releases is completely different and more ground breaking than the last. Quite a feat for any project to accomplish but Njiqahdda does one hell of a job on 'INV'. Especially considering the fact that the album was originally recorded in 2006, scrapped completely and then re-recorded in 2007, which is the version presented on this release.
This release is not only much more black metal than any previous album but also more psychedelic and abstract. The fastest Njiqahdda songs ever written appear on this effort but don't be fooled, you will find no blasting on the disc, but there is plenty of rolling double bass patterns, crazy fills and bizarre poly-rhythmic drum work to be found throughout the album. The guitar tone and work on 'INV' is simply a thing of beauty; a smeared wash of effects laden riffage. Heavily distorted guitars mix with clean, jazzy arpeggios and a weird almost synth/keyboard sounding lead section that soars above the basic rhythms. The whole thing comes together to create an almost dreamy, ethereal effect to the ears. Blistering, roared, alien-like vocals howl over the top of the musical landscape adding another thick, dense layer of atmosphere to the release. Loads of white noise and field recordings also permeate the 4 tracks on this release. Each track uniquely flows into the next without effort or folly, almost like listening to one gigantic track of black atmospheric dirge.
Many albums are tagged with the 'epic' and 'atmospheric' labels, but this album is beyond atmosphere, beyond epic. A masterwork of artistic brilliance that is unparalleled in so many underground music circles. Njiqahdda redefines the 'psychedelic/atmospheric black metal' concept and creates something so unique it is almost frightening.
The artwork of this album is especially noteworthy. Very atypical for an atmospheric black metal band. Bright, vivid colors (and a whole lot of blue tones) explode in a bizarre nature meets urban setting. The cover depicts what looks like clouds, trees, shrubs and some kind of pole with wires shooting out of it. The inner panel looks similar and comes with some kind of otherworldly archaic text within. Not sure what it means, but its mystique only adds to the wondrous experience of this amazing recording.
I would highly recommend this album to fans of unique, forward-thinking black metal art. But also for fans of dark ambient, psychedelic rock, field recordings and experimental musics. A brilliant album that deserves to be heard.