Nahemah - A New Constellation
Lifeforce Records
Progressive Atmospheric Death Metal
10 songs (48'38")
Release year: 2009
Lifeforce Records
Reviewed by Alex

Spanish Nahemah was a total unknown to me, and quickly became the case of how the first impression was the best. The longer I dug deeper, the more time the CD spent in my player, the more flaws I uncovered. Granted, all of these imperfections are personal taste, but what served the purpose better was putting A New Constellation away for a while and then giving it one more decisive spin, to spit out this review in one sitting.

Whatever the past history of Nahemah holds, their latest album is a venture into progressive atmospheric death metal with a periodic modern metalcore stumble. The best moments of the album, for me anyway, came when the band decided to go wandering, without trying to be purposefully progressive, heavy or emotional. Nahemah strength are those open unencumbered atmospheric moments, which come in the form of long winding instrumental sections of The Trip, Under the Mourning Rays or subdued picking in Absynthe. This is not to say that some of the more intense song portions in A New Constellation aren’t captivating, the Opethian shifting rhythm in Absynthe being rather interesting. When Nahemah stays percussive, with all of its drips and blips, the ebbing, rattling synth-like sounds provide the most shimmering and enchanting effect (Much Us). In fact, these bubbling, popping as if out of nowhere keyboards, remind me mightily of AmorphisTuonela. The use of saxophone on Absynthe and brief Air completes that comparison.

Where I can’t seem to get on board with this album is Pablo Egido’s vocals and the band’s tendency to push for more passion and emotion by shifting into metalcore territory with those standard chug’n’croon platters (Reaching the Stars, The Perfect Depth of the Mermaids). Nahemah’s heavier riffs are less interesting than their intricate ones, and at the same time they don’t hammer the message home sufficiently enough either. Pablo tries every possible vocal style in the book. He yells tearing his throat apart hardcore style in Much Us, suffocates and chokes on his own words in Absynthe, croons along in Under the Morning Rays, and alternates rough and soft lines in The Trip. Finally, Smoke’s Men sees the vocals beginning in the otherworldly processed manner before growing human. Unsettled, bouncing off the walls, the vocals on A New Constellation distract more often than not, and they were a primary reason why repeated listens became more painful, as knowing what the overall atmosphere will bring I tended to focus more on the details.

Nowhere near atrocious, and in spots very charismatic, A New Constellation lacked overall cohesion for me to be a homerun. The atmospheric death moments, however, are absolutely worth checking out, especially if you are into latest Opeth and Tuonela-period Amorphis. Novembre and Novembers Doom manage their transitions between atmospheric and extreme a lot more seamlessly, as well as less known American bands Lilitu, Aphotic (split-up) and The Green Evening Requiem. All of these bands, of course, have a doom angle in their art, something which appeals to me quite a bit more than ‘core tendencies of Nahemah. At the same time, Nahemah never falls the victim to exitless riffs and chords of Farmakon and latest Omnium Gatherum. If any of the aforementioned bands are on your playing list, give A New Constellation a try.

Killing Songs :
Much Us, Absynthe, Follow Me
Alex quoted 64 / 100
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