The Maldives are well known throughout the world – for their beaches and resorts and whatnot. A Melodic Death Metal band is not exactly part of this…yet, something that may change with NOTHNEGAL, a quartet that has two pretty well known members in keyboardist Marco Sneck (also with POISONBLACK, KALMAH, CHARON and several others) and drummer Kevin Talley (also IN DÅÅTH, THE RED CHORD, SOILS OF FATE, MISERY INDEX, DECREPIT BIRTH, DYING FETUS, M.O.D., CHIMAIRA, HATE ETERNAL, DARK DAYS, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, ALL THE WAY TO THE BANK) and whose sound is distinctly European, or rather Finnish actually. If you consider the likes of KALMAH, NORTHER or early THRONE OF CHAOS among your favourites, then NOTHNEGAL’s debut EP may very well strike a chord with you.
Recorded at the Shell Studio and Finnvox Studios, these guys definitely have not shied away from expenses to make this a memorable event and the production values definitely are very high and ensure that the sound will not negatively distract from the compositions of these roundabout 15 minutes of melodic Death/Power Metal. Ample keyboards support the melodic riffs, driving rhythms and Avo’s harsh voice, showing a surprising level of maturity, given that these guys haven’t been around for that long yet, with well thought-through song structures and flawless musicianship, leaving only one basic “problem”, this being the originality. No matter which of the four tracks contained you listen to, there is not a single one that you could really put a finger on as bad or anything, but at the same time none of the songs say NOTHNEGAL, when listening to them, you understand what I mean?
“Web Of Deceit” shows the clever use of some clean vocals as well as a piano interlude, which effectively breaks down the intensity to rebuild from the bottom, generating some very nice dynamics, while “Now I’ve Waken” shows the heaviest/fastest passages of this EP, unleashing the blastbeats at the unsuspecting listener, while maintaining the keyboard-supplemented melodies as counterpart, so if you cannot stand keyboards, NOTHNEGAL definitely is not for you…
Overall “Antidote Of Realism” is a very good first step that lacks only in the department of originality, other than that the band definitely already showcases all the traits necessary to make a big step forward for their next release, nothing amazing yet, but definitely a band to keep close tabs on, because they might evolve into a force to reckon with soon!
(Online August 5, 2009)