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Being introduced to the Polish band Nyia through their debut album 'Head Held High', it could be said that I was a little disappointed- to put it diplomatically- even though I knew nothing of the band, nor had I heard anything before that. The production values were awful, the songs never went anywhere, and overall, it was a fairly poor effort that was only made hopeful by the fact that some of the musicianship that the band expressed was pretty good. Moving onto the band's second album 'More Than You Expect', I was now expecting next to nothing from this band, although I could only hope that they had done something with their sound to improve it. Although Nyia's sophomore still does not reach a level of excellence, it is one of those albums that is a massive upgrade in virtually every respect from its predecessor. Changing their lineup, improving the songwriting, and even sharpening their once shoddy production, Nyia's second album finally shows the band making something worthwhile.
As I stated in my review of 'Head Held High', Nyia were good death metal musicians, and even had some experimental flairs going on for them that appeared to be plucked from the Gorguts tree. With 'More Than You Expect', I would like to add Voivod and Meshuggah to Nyia's list of apparent influences. Especially in the guitars, it is common for the musicians here to go from high pitched dissonant riffs, into a more band-centered observation of strange rhythms. The musicianship is much better this time around, and while the production still is not great, it is possible to hear what is actually going on in the music now. The bass guitar has been turned up noticeably, and that helps to give the band a nicer range of sound. Also, one of the weakest aspects of the debut (the vocals) have been upgraded this time with a new vocalist, whose growls and screams are still not great, but his clean vocals are at least decent to hear.
The songs still often feel a little short for their own good and even underdeveloped in parts, and the album's flow is still a little jagged. Nyia has impressed me here by the fact of how much they were able to improve from the previous effort however, so they can be congratulated for that much. 'More Than You Expect' still is not a great album, but a good exploration of progressive death metal it is.
Currently formed of members of non-metal bands, mid-paced spastic
noisecore is the stew from which this band is boiled. If Tusk had a Polish cousin this would be it; stuttering hack and stop noisy fuckin' rock. The plummeting bass and churning guitars are backed with equally erratic drumming sequences provided by Wojciech Szymañski. But there is plenty of music here that slows the pace and drifts lazily from your speakers, causing you to remind yourself of who you're listening to. If you can do it faster than the next abrasive, corroding number begins.
The crooning clean vocals of Jakub Leonowicz present on most tracks can be annoying but thankfully this five-piece stray far enough away from other cringe-worthy metalcore nuances. A few half-minute noise passages scattered throughout serve as nothing but filler. These guys did a split with Antigama and have now found a home on the hot Feto Records, who is quickly filling its ranks like rising floodwaters.
Nearing the conclusion of this album, songs begin to sound alike (except Kilar's Hairstyle) and you wonder if this wasn't a huge song chopped up for easier ear edibility. But if you can look past the goth-cheese vocals of certain tracks, then even you may be able to discover something worth your time.