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In my search of obscure progressive metal from around the world, I came across this Polish band; Nyia, whose name apparently comes from an ancient demon of death. With this fairly formulaic name choice out of the way, I can briefly mention that the band came out with two albums before becoming inactive. While I always hope to find albums and music out there that blows my mind, or albums that I can recommend to other music lovers out there, Nyia's debut 'Head Held High' is not one such album. Although the band's Gorguts- esque brand of experimentation with the death metal sound can be lauded and appreciated, this brief and rough album seems to only ever hint at good things, without actually making them happen.
Nyia's style seems to follow the setup laid out a decade earlier by Gorguts with their 'Obscura' album; dissonant riffs, barking death vocals, and the general sense that these musicians are making no effort to make their music accessible in any shape or form. However, as far as the masterpiece 'Obscura' went, it had that unrelenting sense of originality and pioneering vigour on its side, and each song was given time to flesh out and develop into a quasi-jazz metal powerhouse. To Nyia's credit, it would be unfair to call them a Gorguts clone, as they do have a heavier grind sound to them as well, but I am finding that Nyia is not doing much new with the sound. In terms of the actual musicianship of the band, it is clear that these guys are all very good at what they do (with the possible exception of vocalist Bogdan Kondracki, whose scream passes me as being soulless) but the sound is held back greatly by some fairly horrible production. Considering that the music is fairly technically accomplished, it is a real shame that the recording quality obscures most of what is really happening. It is really unfortunate that the album is hurt so much by its production, although I can't imagine there would be much more than only a mediocre progressive death metal album here otherwise. The songs are all very brief, and never go very far. And on the subject of vocals, Bogdan Kondracki's mix of growling and mild speaking hurts the instrumentation, especially due to the fact that it is mixed higher than any of the instruments.
Nyia's debut is a poor album for many reasons, although there are good things- like the technicality- that show potential for the act. Luckily, the very aptly titled sophomore 'More Than You Expect' would be a massive improvement over this.
Nyia, a name you won’t commonly hear if you ask someone about technical death/grind. However, this 5 piece band from Olsztyn, Poland definitely falls into this category. It’s not surprising why there do not make it big after listening to the second part of the album.
Nyia’s music could be easily described as a cross between modern grindcore in the vein of Pig Destroyer and technical hardcore masters Dillinger’s Escape Plan. The album (Head Held High) starts off with no mercy. No intros just rampaging jazzy grindcore. The vocal resembles a cross between Jamey Jasta and Dillinger’s Pucciato. As the guitarist spews out a brutal riff the drummer uses a lot of snare beats. The bass could be heard clearly and sounds very complex.
The whole album seems to be woven together. When the second track plays, I thought it was still the first track. However, the album starts to get boring in the middle, especially the track “Every thing is A Dream”. That track sounds as if a half-assed deathcore track in what “Waking the Cadaver” might write on drugs. However the track The World’s Throat saves the day with its heavy and brutal sound. The track “Heads of the Insane” starts of with a typical death metal intro. Then it enters into a fast-paced jazzy hardcore sound only to be slowed down with a jazz breakdown. The rest of the album then continues with the same formula and you might start to get boring. I have to say the spoken parts in this album really bugged me in the second half of the album.
To sum it up, the album starts off with a great impression of fast paced jazzy grindcore with stop-start snare beats but then fall into the deathcore category. The rest of the album then falls into a state of mediocrity which is probably the exact opposite from what you might expect after listening to the first track. This album shows that being technical can be mediocre too. All of the tracks are around 2 minutes long except for Nothing Can Stop Procreation.
Good tracks: Behind The Gods, Over the Ceaseless Dying.