Not many people can actually accuse me of not giving the most different styles at least one chance. Even though I so far have only found exactly one band in Metalcore that I like, that being PRO-PAIN, I have dared to close in on NIENTARA, even though they, too, mostly are heralded Metalcore. The also US-based quintet offers us "Consequence" and I have to say that what is coming my way is not really the sound that I normally combine with Metalcore, rather this formation combines Hardcore and some elements from Death Metal into a pretty heavy whole.
That the playing time of the five songs does not even reach 30 minutes is a downpoint, which lets me ask again, if in these cases anybody thinks about the fans, who spend their hard earned money on CDs and then not even get half an hour of music. Well, I cannot change anything on that now, so let's go to the music and this has turned out to be a big hate blob, I can tell you.
The New England based band starts out with a damaged musical clock, leading into a half hour parforce ride and from the very beginning on they take no prisoners, "Hearts And Minds" combines harsh Metalcore/Hardcore with Swedish sounding leads and at times almost hysteric vocals by Kris Foell and unleash a hurricane of heaviness, in which the leads are the rock in the surf as counterpart to the aggression that the Americans hurl our way, which is even furthered by the very powerful production of Enoch Jensen. That we also get some clean vocals and calmer passages is to be viewed as very positive as they also put some more dynamics into the songs.
Following this they vary the intensity and also the tempo of the songs, but still remain very true to the originally adopted course, which means that surprising twists are not the order of the day and despite the more or less strong Death Metal influence everything is a bit too close together. If you disregard the few clean vocals, Foell's voice is the main problem as he bawls in mostly the same pitch (sorry, I cannot find a better fitting description) and unfortunately the leads at times get lost in the chug style of the guitars, which is a pity as they drown out a really nice element in the band's sounds, which they do not use as much as they maybe should to differ a bit more from the many other bands in this style, "Portraits Of The Dead" is a pretty good example for this, how much these leads can add to a song.
That the guys can play is absolutely out of question, tight and precise, just the one dimensional vocals and the relative uniformity of the song material stand a bit in the way of NIENTARA to also appeal to an a bit wider audience and get better reviews. Who is searching for full fledged anger and aggression should put NIENTARA on the menu once, because the stuff on offer is not bad at all, but the mentioned points of criticism are weighing pretty heavily. (Online January 22, 2004)