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Nechochwen - Against the Tide

Label: Nordvis
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 8/10


Nechochwen’s “Against the Tide” will surprise you - - with the beauty of their acoustic guitars, the intricacy of the front-porch folksy guitar parts, the richness of their deep-voiced harmonized vocals, and the jarring left turns in the song constructions, keeping you on your toes, refusing to allow complacency throughout the entire album.

 

I know, I know; you see yet another band name you can’t pronounce or spell written in an illegible font, and you assume you’re in for grade-Z Black Metal rejects - - but get past those preconceptions. First of all - - these guys aren’t even from Sweden, let alone Europe - - they’re a duo from West Virginia (I give up; I can’t keep trying to predict your snap prejudgements). There’s a great wide-open mystery to their sound, evoking the feeling of being intentionally lost on a wooded hillside, with the music echoing off the Appalachian mountains. See - - it’s hard to describe this without you wanting to roll your eyes (there I go again), but it’s akin to a lovely, quiet woodland, where you can hear yourself think, away from the noise and intensity that awaits up the highway from whence you came, and where you’ll inevitably return.
That’s not to say that “The Ancient Pulse” is without its intense moments. This is actually a Frankenalbum, of sorts; featuring originals, reworked versions some of their older materials, and two bizarre choices of covers: Rotting Christ’s “One With the Forest” and “Ozzy Osbourne’s solo classic, “Over the Mountain.” I mentioned the deep-voiced harmonies and acoustic guitars before - - those comprise the first three.5 tracks, but halfway through track 4, “Winterstrife 2018,” the Heavy distorted electrics, double-bass drums, and Metal vocals kick in, and never truly go away even amidst the frequent returns to the introspective woods.
The audience for this is obviously a select, small few; largely the ones at the Metal shows who avoid the pit, and outwardly appear either in euphoric bliss or deep concentration (either of which means they’re having a great time - - really). It’s serious stuff, taken seriously. Even the apparently whimsical Metal cover tunes appear to have been carefully selected to fulfill a greater overall purpose on “Against the Tide.” For this reason, it’s a bit hard to recommend - - but because of the quality of the music, it’s hard *NOT* to recommend. I recommend you sample a bit. IF it takes you to your serene woods, then Nechochwen may be for you too.

 
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