When a group claims to be a mash of several genres, I usually only expect the worst. Long has the use of experimentation been something only occasionally successful. Even Metal tyrants such as Celtic Frost had issues when they tried to merge several different styles and genre tropes together. Into the Pandemonium was a monumental flop compared to their previous albums, what would follow (Cold Lake, Vanity/Nemesis, etc) was received with even more fist shaking - rather than head banging. Still, bands continue to try their hand at experimental, ‘advant garde, blend, and slash ‘/’ - in the pursuit, no doubt, of something fresh or different. Never in my life had I thought that one of the rare times blending would work, that experimentation would exceed so well, would be the product of an American band – Texas to be exact. And with that said I present to you Nethermost who, with their Alpha EP, bring to the metal world a true death/doom combination.
Alpha carries with it the attraction of haunting melodies reminiscent of My Dying Bride, paired with crushing death metal vocals – even some slight remnants of black metal lie in the arrangements. Somehow, this pairing carries with it an overwhelming feeling of melancholy and despair. According to the band “Nethermost refers to the lowest point of existence” and the band most certainly utilizes this title accordingly. The highlight track ‘Phasing Currents’ is by far the most effective in atmosphere, containing simple but effective guitar work – something I can certainly appreciate.
Nethermost does have a slight flaw, however, or at least on Alpha it does. While tracks like ‘Phasing Currents’ and ‘The Untroubled Kingdom of Reason’ are excellent and very listenable – the remaining two ‘Tower of the Winds’ and ‘Dance of Burning Beasts’ merely feel like continuations of the other two (containing almost identical guitar work), basically feeling somewhat like filler. This, however, doesn’t make these two tracks bad in any way – they simply lack the memorable gloom of the others.
Alpha is an excellent EP and though it suffers from slight repetition, it is very much worth looking into. Already I have been inclined to tell others of Nethermost and their successful brand of genre-melding. That alone should show you that Nethermost at least deserves a listen, even if you are not a fan of off-breed genres.