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Catchy and Great Njiqahdda - 90%

BeholdtheNicktopus, June 1st, 2013

“Serpents in the Sky” is undeniably one of Njiqahdda's more accessible albums, the songs being relatively catchy, and there being a stronger emphasis on clearly discernible guitar parts. It is far less a mass of atmospheric noise, and more a (relatively) conventional metal album, utilizing the sound and techniques of quite a few subgenres. In these aspects, it is very different from their masterpiece “Yrg Alms”, which is however not to say that it is a bad album. Far from it, “Serpents in the Sky” is most definitely a great Njiqahdda album, having the trademark mystical/psychedelic tinge and interesting and unique songwriting. If anything, this album proves that Njiqahdda can create basically whatever kind of metal they want and it will be good. One thing that is peculiar to this album, though, is its technicality. The drumming is sharp and involved, the guitars are active, and the vocals are spot-on. At the beginning of “The Veil of Allaeius”, for instance, the drums are quite bombastic.

The production on “Serpents in the Sky” is quite clear and punchy, and the drum sound in particular is satisfying. I find myself wanting a bit more grit in the guitars, but I guess the cleanness comes with the style. The vocals, both clean and shouted, have a balanced amount of reverb and gain and other such effects, and it's good that they're not too much in the foreground.

The music here is not as uniform as on some previous Njiqahdda albums. The songs are distinct, but all sound like they go together. There are actually a good deal of change-ups within each song, and while the atmosphere carries over it is not the only thing to which one should pay attention. Rather, the riffs and drum fills draw one's ear constantly. The first riff in “Gaia”, for instance, is absolutely infectious. I'm not really sure what subgenre this falls under, and that is a good thing in my book.

With these things in consideration, it would seem that “Serpents in the Sky” is a good place for newcomers to start with Njiqahdda, given it is more conventional and catchy while still retaining the band's signature sound. It is strange, being both aggressive metal and psychedelic, and the beat usually being driving. Overall, I think I prefer the style of “Yrg Alms”, but this is definitely one of Njiqahdda's better albums, though none of them are bad. I can definitely see this having a spot in my permanent album rotation. Recommended for people wanting to check out Njiqahdda.

Standout tracks (if you wanted to sample a song or two, try these): “Gaia” and “Serpents in the Sky...”