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good times with jesus - 81%

Noktorn, May 21st, 2009

This album's style is one that I would think would be more popular: it's violent and brutal death (with a hint of black) metal ala Impiety plus a bit of Vader thrashiness and more than a hint of Behemoth epic stylings (and so, I guess, second-generation Nile worship). It's violent and brutal music, but it's also rather eruditely presented, making for an album which has all the makings of a major success but has still received oddly little attention for all that it does right. Nomad doesn't make enormously exciting or original music, but the sheer professionalism and adeptness with which they execute their chosen style really seems to indicate that they should be going somewhere faster than they are.

The music on this album is a varied and well-executed blend of more brutal and blast-oriented death metal versus slower, more epic passages; I'm not going to say that the slow passages are an absolute clone of the Behemoth style (particularly because it seems that this was recorded a couple years before it was solidified by 'Demigod'), but it's similar enough that any other comparison is a reach. What Nomad does better than Behemoth is making the fast passages interesting (something that crippled the more popular band on 'The Apostasy'), leaving the epic passages for climactic moments rather than arbitrarily dotting them throughout the songs. Enough about the slow stuff, though; you know what it sounds like and they only end up making up about 20% of the album total, so why dwell on them, despite their talented placement.

Most of this music is dominated by blasting and tremolo riffing, all of which is pretty fun if not absolutely remarkable. The robust production helps bring out some of the more technical intricacies of the riffs without being overproduced; it's thick and clear but not too plasticky. The song structures are rather compact and have a large number of riffs, and the performances are laden with fills and subtle variation rather than rote '4 of this, 8 of that' repetition. I appreciate the unwillingness of this band to stretch out their songs for any longer than they should be; the tracks aren't overly short, but they keep your attention fully throughout and never stop being eminently listenable.

This is another release that I would check into my 'good due to professionalism' category. The songwriting on this isn't particularly remarkable as far as first or second-tier metal releases go (though it is when compared to the rest of the underground), but it's executed so well that it manages to be more than the sum of its parts. This isn't really the first underground death metal record that you should purchase, but it's a nice choice for those just seeking a good, solid album. This may not be amazing but it more than makes up for it with its professionalism.