Monday, 14 January 2013

Back from a temporary hiatus, the two-piece return to explore their complex doom-rock. The band are now onto a third release, continuing to produce unpredictable material. Elegant and fast paced in sections, slow and dreamy in others; there’s a distinct character in their dimensional sound.

Festival Of The Horned God sees the band in fine form. Despite the two-piece settled on a conspiracy theory involving the Pope (the name National Sunday Law is the name of that very conspiracy theory) they’re a clever duo when it comes to song structures and rockability. They’re able to work outside of the genres comfort zone - occasionally using synths and vocoders – which along with the doom tag, gives their sound a unique complexion.

So, while you have the guitars and drums hammering away, you also have an ethereal quality in their sound. The vocal vocodes into harmonies, the synth sometimes doubles up on the guitar chords, and the guitar runs through a multitude of effects; huge reverbs are often used, with massive delays of cheesy acoustic strings ringing in the background. It makes for a big impressionable sound.

What makes Festival Of The Horned God stand apart from NSLs previous outings, is that the band are now going wherever they want, whenever they want in their songs. They’ll just speed up and slow down when they feel like it. It somehow stays coherent. It’s a confusing experience but not over the top. You’ll be dizzy after the ride, but remember what the sign-posts looked like.

The EPs opening tune is full of urgency, veering into the melodramatic through the use of synth and big piano notes - similar to a Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor production colluding with Cynic. It’s a big and weighty sound, that’s perhaps meant to be engaged with rather than headbanged too.

The EPs final track, Preservation In Stone, chugs along in an awkward Virus vibe. It’s discordant and constantly wrestling with itself to find a steady rhythm. The tune is given a hard edge through the duos vocal performance. The vocal is mixed at around the same volume as the guitars and drums, and when they both shout, it sounds like they’re trying to sledgehammer their way through a thick wall of sound.

At their best, NSL demonstrate how doom can evolve – indeed, perhaps how it is evolving.  Before you’d have bought a progressive record and doom record separate, for different experiences. The progressive record would be for the beard-stroking intellectual, the doom record, perhaps for those as high as a kite when wanting to rock out. The choice has now been made unnecessary. This particular rendition lets us have our progressive-doom cake, and eat it.

Posted by Posted by Andy at 9:51 pm
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