Naamah – Resensement
19/10/2004 § Leave a comment
English / Polish lyrics
There comes a time when you get the rare privilege of putting an album on and knowing very soon that you’ve hit on something special. Even though this is a Metal Mind release, which are most of the time good quality anyway, I didn’t expect something of this calibre to come from Naamah, whose last album was an unremarkable offering. There were certainly glimmers of hope there, though I didn’t expect them to remain anything more than that, but after what can only be a year of thorough dedication, they’ve put together one of the best pieces of music that I’ve heard for a long time.
Ultima, the predecessor to the rather annoyingly titled Resentement, didn’t necessarily lack in song-writing rather than in execution. The album was very badly produced, the mix being upside down and back to front and some of the tracks sounded dizzy and confused, the result being a rather disorientating musical experience. This time round they’ve got some very good production – everything is clear and crisp, the bass especially coming out beautifully in places, and the song-writing is in a completely different league to on Ultima. Naamah have decided to go for an almost jazzy approach to writing metal, the only other band I can think of who have attempted something similar being Illegal Aliens. But parts on Resensement even reminded me of Atrox, so good is the technicality and the skill with which the material here is put together. Naamah haven’t so much come on leaps and bounds, as have been catapulted to an altogether superior echelon.
Naamah have really made a point on concentrating on the intricacy of the music here, which doesn’t mean they’ve thrown in lots of power-chords and blast-beats, Resensement isn’t about that. It’s not a Hershey’s bar or a Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, but more of a Godiva truffle, a beautifully appetizing extravagance which deserves to swirl around your mind and be savoured and appreciated. There are so many things going on at once and so many time-signature changes, that it’s great to be able to sit there and examine the musical components that make up the quite challenging songs. Naamah have really made an effort to show off their new-found song-writing and technical skills, with there being many instrumental passages on the album, but they’re all so good and different from one another that you don’t really see them as being fillers between vocal sections, but statements in their own right.
None of the songs are particularly short numbers, either. Apart from the piano version of Twoja at the end of the album, there’s nothing shorter than six minutes here, with Daydream parts One and Two being both over ten minutes. Even though in many cases it’s the norm for long songs to make the listener all too aware of their length, each song here is fleshed out with so many striking different sections that you don’t really want the track to end. There are some wonderful parts to Subsistence, while Alright could almost be excused for being jazz if it weren’t for the odd moment of creamily heavy guitar. Don’t be fooled though, Resensement is undoubtedly a work of home-grown Polish metal with some deliciously heavy sections, so it very much sits on the right side of the metal fence.
Anna’s singing has improved too. She seems to be capable of what very few singers are in metal at the moment, and that is putting expression into how she sings. It’s so usual for vocalists to pelt notes out and sing piano and forte when the song demands it, though not necessarily with feeling. Anna undoubtedly feels the song’s subjects, my only criticism being that on a couple of occasions she slips slightly below the notes, but the sentiments she injects into them make up for this.
Resensement is nine tracks long, however, two of them are unarguably fillers: Subsistence featuring twice, in English and in Polish, and Twoja being reworked as a piano track. Nevertheless, it’s hard to really criticise Naamah and Metal Mind too much for this since the seven tracks before these are of such a superbly high standard that it’s good to have something familiar at the end of the album so you can catch your breath, relax and mull over the fantastic musical experience that this band have taken you through. Resensement really is a staggering work and something that I would never have expected Naamah to produce. It won’t appeal to everyone, especially those who like their metal unadorned and uncomplicated, but those who prefer the more intricate and introspective side of the genre will see this as a real luxury.