Friday, 24 August 2012

Review: Nomad Son - The Eternal Return: Malta's doom is nigh! - 85%

Another older review, this time from Nomad Son, great mediterranean doom, here's the review.

This is the second album of Nomad Son and just like their first one, it's high quality doom. Malta isn't a place where you expect metal to be created, hey, they just legalized divorce there, it's a pretty religious country. But Nomad Son is a band who's integrating christianity into their lyrical themes. They do it without the over top cheesiness which exist in bands like Place of Skulls (a quality band, but their Jesus-in-your-face lyrics don't do much for me). So, Nomad Son is evolving in the small doom scene of Malta alongisde the better known band, Forsaken. Both are sharing Jowita Kaminska as the album art artist, Her style is apt to the spiritual and serious music of these guys. They also share the same bassist, so look no further for a comparative band, but there's some differences between the two bands from this small European island.

What we have here is a mix between traditionnal doom and a more vintage sound. I think the proeminent use of the keyboard is quite original and invigorating. We have some keys leads here and there, like on the second song, "Sigma Draconis" or in "Comatose Souls". It's often used as a second lead guitar, something like bands like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple were doing. It's also used as a stand alone instrument, the intro of the album's epic "Winds of Golgotha" is a proof of that. It's done quite well, not too fancy and not only there to create a ''background'' to the guitars. The keyboardist and the guitarist are also brothers, so maybe the chemistry between the two instruments is coming from this. Nomad Son is a really talented band, their riffs are solid and the other musicians are also top notch. The solos are always cool and not forced on the listener. It's a band who's searching the right atmospheres without doing compensations on its solid and direct songwriting. The songs are lenghty but they're not suffering from unnecessary and boring parts, something doom bands tend to include.

Something which took me several listenings to get used to are the vocals. But when I get used to them, I really loved them. They are somewhat unusual for traditionnal doom, but Nomad Son isn't usual for this style either. They're quite raspy and high, imagine an higher Dio mixed with some of the rawer side of NWOBHM (Venom or Atomkraft), also some of the lower parts of King Diamond's vocals. Anyway, the vocals of Jordan Cutajar aren't as polarising as the ones of Lee Dorrian, he's a good singer with lots of pipes. Like the other musicians, he's both able to transmit atmospheres and more agressive vocals lines. The title track can be a good judge for the dual ability of the singer. The song starts slowly by some awesome melodic vocals to go forward to his more rawer vocals. I think the better comparaison I can give is Terry Jones (Pagan Altar) but less nasal. Both of these singers are in very original bands who aren't thrown in the bunch of other similar traditionnal doom bands.

If you're looking for some original doom which is both influenced by the American and the European scenes, look no further. Here's a good mix of epic, traditionnal doom and a touch of atmospheric keyboards here and there. Enjoy the ride to Malta's doom.

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