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Proggy Melo Death - 72%

TheStormIRide, May 29th, 2013

Nami is a metal act from Andorra with only one full length release under their belt. “Fragile Alignments” boasts amazingly clean production and expert instrumentation: impressive for a band’s debut release and even more impressive for a band hailing from a country with a minute metal scene. While, Andorra already has Persefone, whose music meshes progressive and melodic death metal, it’s rather refreshing to see burgeoning metal scenes developing newer talent.

I’ve heard Nami referred to as a cross between Porcupine Tree and Opeth, but I’m not sure that’s entirely fitting. While Nami does display some of the progressive tendencies of both acts, “Fragile Alignments” reaches slightly further by adding percussive and polyrhythmic guitars intertwined alongside melodic wandering and tempo changes out the wazoo. The band has the “proggy death metal” tendencies of Opeth and the clean vocals of Porcupine, but that’s about as far as the correlation really goes. So yeah, Nami does play a form of progressive metal with a few death metal elements, but there’s a lot more going on here.

One thing is certain, though; these guys can play their instruments well. The guitar lines go from proggy melo death riffs into clean, melodic wandering and from proggy melo death into polyrhythmic chugging into clean, melodic wandering: you get the idea. A lot the chugging Meshuggah styled riffing sounds extremely forced into the songs, almost like an afterthought. These complex riffs sound best when coupled with a faster, challenging drum beat because the slower chugged sections sound almost like an extremely off-kilter hardcore breakdown. While the drumming on the slower sections are rather lackluster and just kind of exist to keep a beat going, the faster sections show some impressively distinctive patterns: rhythmic double bass kicks with one of the hardest snare hits I’ve heard in a while. The drums coincide extremely well with the thick bass lines. Aside from walking the entire fret board constantly, the bass lines are punchy and accent the rhythmic double bass lines quite well. There are two distinctive types of vocals on this release, clean and death styled. The clean vocals are decent and have a touch of emotive outpouring, but the singer’s accent is somewhat thick and shy. It honestly sounds more like the vocals of an upstart indie rock band than prog vocals. The deathy vocals are similar to that of Opeth’s heavier vocals (think the era of “Still Life”) although they sound more like a deep barking than a scream or shout. The heavier vocals sound like any number of proggy tech death vocalists and the cleans sound like any number of indie rock singers, so it’s really nothing original aside from combining the two, which is nothing really original there either.

The proggy melodic death metal sections are the ultimate highlight here. The guitars riffs are intense yet melodic while the drums are demanding and forceful. By attempting to add in some more melodious, slower prog rock inspired sections it adds a nice dynamic between soft and strong. The prog rock inspired sections are good, but nothing to go ape shit over, though. Where the band begins to falter is during the polyrhythmic chug fests, which really aren’t terrible, but they do have a tendency to overstay their welcome. I understand that changing things up and trying new things is what makes progressive metal, well, progressive, but sometimes it feels forced. Nami’s strength is in their drumming and melodic tinged guitar passages. Keeping in mind that this is a debut release from a band that hails from a location with little in the way of a metal scene, the future does seem bright.