Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 5/17/2004
Head Held High
posted on 6/2004 By:
Hmm. A tech-grind band by former members of Vader and Prophecy? Nyia call themselves a death metal band, but really it's more of a...really aggressive and heavier sounding version of the newer type of spastic grind. Combined with interludes of a slower plodding parts and augmented chords, it sounds like it'd be more suited on Hydrahead than Candlelight Records.
I chose to review this album after just hearing a few snippets. It sounded intriguing - different, at least. Unfortunately, it's your usual spazzed out million-notes-a-minute with more of a focus on being "unique" and "thought-provoking" by having more slower and droning parts. This isn't a Gorguts album. It's not something that's initially too difficult to comprehend so you give up on, only to pick it up months later and declare it to be incredible. It's uninspired. They're trying to create this really techy and engrossing masterpiece but falling short. Sadly, it's quite a far fall.
So does it at least live up to any expectations that you'd have with a band that features Vader and Prophecy members? No. Not really. Why? Because it's boring. It sounds like an insincere version of Knut. Not that I think Knut are the greatest band or anything, but they're enjoyable and respectable in what they do. The vocals, a real throaty yell, remind me of Cryptopsy's Mike DiSalvo. They're gruff and usually pretty monotone, but on Head Held High, they do some sort of...poorly thought-out clean-sung (almost spoken) parts. It doesn't sound good or bad - it's needless, though. The rest of the music is entirely catered to the "holy-shit-i-just-discovered-Dillinger-Escape-Plan-and-now-i'm-tired-of-pop-punk-and-am-ready-to-wear-more-tight-black-band-shirts" crowd, being as it's frantic and random sounding.
Nyia basically have a handful of good riffs that they tie together by really tedious and overused chaotic grinding parts. It's irritating because I can't actually sit and say that I like an entire song - I just like certain segments. I guess I don't really feel like the band gives me any real reason to care too much about what they're doing. Sure, it's mildly dazzling at times and complex sounding, but it comes across as being showy. As stupid as that might sound, that's how it feels. Probably the track that stands out the most is "Everything Is a Dream", due to the odd drumming and great bending guitarwork. Speaking of the drumming, it's actually pretty interesting - definitely one of the high points of the album. Other than that, it's all pretty much the same shit you've all heard before.
The production doesn't exactly work in the favor of Nyia. I feel like I could be missing out on a lot of engaging parts due to the muddy production. But truthfully, I can imagine this being the production they wanted, as it might disguise a little of the normalcy (to this style) of what they're playing and it turns the guitar into more of a companion noise rather than an instrument. Eventually it started to feel more like I've got something on as background fuzz rather than something I'm reviewing.
If they tweak with the production a little, provide less monotonous vocals, and realize that it's alright to have some straight rhythms and riffs, I can see Nyia making a really great album. For now though, this is a real flavor-of-the-week kind of thing that I won't find myself going back to. It's not a miserable debut. It's not even a poor album. It's just painfully lacking. Oh well. At least it's short.
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