The Second Philosophy

Written by: PP on 27/02/2007 16:16:27

Anyone reading the description of Spain-based Nahemah will understandably find themselves uber-excited. A orchestral combination of Opeth's melancholic overtones and Dark Tranquillity's brutally melodic death metal? Count me in! Needless to say this is an overly ambitious aspiration for any band, after all we are talking about two of the most influential bands in Sweden here, interpreted by a south-western European band!

"Siamese" opens the album with creeping subtle percussion before the brutally heavy, crushing guitars kick in contrasted by a silky violin on the background, and you know the band means business with their ambitions. Vocalist Pablo Egido rages in the best Mikael Åkerfeldt manner, using his voice as an additional instrument to further brutalize the already destructive guitars, and does a fairly good job at it. In the short passages where his clean singing kicks in, the band actually comes frighteningly close to sounding like "Blackwater Park" era Opeth, straight from the melancholic overtones to the next-to-perfect chord progressions. All is well, I hear you say. Unfortunately not. "Killing My Architect" keeps your interest alive, until it reaches about half way of the song. I don't know if the band tried to overdo their creative inspiration or just their aspiration to have a unique sound, but whatever the case is, those Mogwai-style odd & silent instrumental pauses do no good for the flow of the song or the album. It's like listening to "Deliverance" and having a 30 second pause in the middle and watching Åkerfeldt go scratch some amps with a nail-file, and I'm sure everyone who has ever heard the song would agree with me when I say "WHAT?!??!". The same pattern occurs in "Nothing", this time supported by silent piano and ghastly whispers. The otherwise incredible guitar melody contrast with Egido's ravaging voice is shattered into little pieces.

However, there are occasions on "The Second Philosophy" where this practice actually works. The beginning of "Like A Butterfly In A Storm" is silent and beautiful enough to put you onto your toes, to prepare you for the massive guitar crush that never quite gets as massive as one would've hoped for with that kind of introduction. But nevertheless, it works fine here, as well as in "Change", where a similar approach is used, but instead of the nail-files you just have silent guitars that create a soothing atmosphere - a calm before the storm if you like - and the chorus uses elements from electro-pop punk/indie rock on top of the otherwise very death metallish-atmosphere. Works like a dream here, adding that much needed extra element to separate this song from the rest on the album.

"The Second Philosohpy" has its massive moments, but when it fails, it does so colossally. There's nothing more annoying than breaking an awesomely heavy, earth-shaking riff with keyboard effects for 30 seconds, only to resume the same riff straight after as if the passage had been inserted into the song once it was already finished. But no need to worry dear readers, songs like "Labyrinthine Straight Ways" among others save the day by just utilizing those very elements that make Opeth so god damn good. The use of melancholy, depression and desperation is contrasted with utmost beauty and melody just like in the best literary books you might read. It's for these moments I recommend this album to you, and beg you to forget about the small - though noticeable - mistakes some of the songs have.


Download: Siamese, Labyrinthine Straight Ways
For the fans of: Opeth, Dark Tranquillity
Listen: Myspace

Release date 29.01.2007
Provided by Target ApS

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