Antidote Of Realism
posted on 2/2009 By:
Two things need to be stated outright before diving into this tasty little four-tracker:
1) Nothnegal hail from the Republic of Maldives, Asia's smallest country. Surely, this information will be forcefully rammed down your throat every time the band gets some press from here on forward (raise your hand if you're sick of people mentioning that Tyr are from the Faroe Islands). So, for information's sake, the reference has been made. While it's pretty cool that a quality metal band has emerged from such a small country, that fact should not overshadow any of the merits that they bring to the table - there are no gimmicks here.
2) Melodic death metal is basically dead. And it died a similar death that thrash metal did years ago - the parameters of the style were/are too limiting, and the specter of the genre's pillars loom too large, their mightiness too overwhelming. While some fans will rattle off the overly-awkward names of some of melodeath's current flag-fliers in protest, there's no denying that the new shit can't hold a candle.
But even though a genre may be dead, there's always a few zombies stomping around the yard. Nothnegal is one of the freshly exhumed, baring bloody teeth and poised to sink 'em in. Plying a very modern take on the style - think new-school Dark Tranquillity meets mid-period Arch Enemy meets pre-poserism Children of Bodom - the band straddles the line between accessibilty and aggression in expert fashion. That's the absolute key to making melodeath work; combine toe-tappin' hummability with enough razorwire slash-n'-burn to keep things dangerous. Antidote of Realism is the kind of slab that makes the stone-serious keyboard humpers out there look like the stagnant blowhards that they are.
Nothnegal use keyboards quite liberally themselves, however, so be warned. In fact, they show up almost as soon as the album begins, speeding alongside the uptempo riffing that drives "Web of Deceit." Thankfully, guitarists Ahmed Hilarl and Ibrahim Fuhaid keep things quick and nasty, ripping across their fretboards like an army of angry hornets. They rarely slow things down, steamrolling even through the more atmospheric "Now I've Waken," which features some understated, fundamentally-flawed clean vocals that are oddly compelling in their lack of false bravado. This proves to be the most memorable song on this mini-beast, as the title track (which features an appearance by Marco Sneck of Kalmah and Poisonblack fame) and "Temptress of Shadows" are basically 200 mph showcases of shreddery, with the latter track ironically boasting the stronger Kalmah vibe.
At a shade over 15 minutes, Antidote of Realism scoots out the door nearly as fast as it lets itself in. However, that brief window of time is enough for Nothnegal to establish themselves as a gasp of air for a genre that is drowning in lameness. While their late-90's Gothenburg and modern Finnish flavorings are far from novel (and arguably ultra-derivative), they are executed with shitloads of infectious vigor. Since the recording of this EP, Sneck has joined the band as a full-time member, along with drummer Kevin Talley - a sign that the band is planting their feet in the sand. Antidote of Realism succeeds as a homage to the band's favorite jams, as well as a bold foundation for future endeavors. A no-brainer for melodic death junkies, as well as those that enjoy razorblades in their bubblegum.
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