12 Jun 2021 - Thorsten
Blackened Groovey Sludge Post-Metal | Blues Funeral Recordings | Release date: 04 Jun 2021
Did you ever have a feeling as if new music wasn’t exciting enough, because it all basically copied something you had already heard? That creating something along well-tread paths gave you nothing? Only the highest level of innovation was just good enough for you? Then please go along, Somnuri and their world-class Blackened Prog-Sludge are not your thing!
Somnuri from Brooklyn are a Sludge-trio that knows how hard band life can be, heck, they even (legend has it) formed an underground cannabis service to get the money for their self-titled debut record from 2017. But they never developed a “tough guy” image which was often a disguise for some of wannabe-bands. It may sound strange, but in some ways Somnuri are obviously “real” and undeniably so.
They are no innovators of their own realm. No, this is not anything we have never heard. It is very , very well-done Sludge with a lot of elements taken from several others metal genres, be it death, black, post or whatever-metal. After a few years now as a trio, every single song on Nefarious Wave shows how well-oiled this machine is. A few days ago, one of the guys doing one of my favorite podcasts used the German term “Dampfwalzeneffekt” and it fits to this record 100%. Translated it would be something like “the effect of a steam roller”: The record is a hot, steamy conglomerate that will roll over you time and time again and each time, your ability to do something else while listening to these seven songs will become smaller.
The record starts off with four speedy, uptempo songs that can certainly kick-start your love for hard, speedy metal with a twist. And this twist comes with Phil SanGiacomo, the drummer of the band, because they definitely showed the variable plays. He uses each part of his drum-kit perfectly, sometimes kickstarting the whole song by simply picking up the pace a notch or by slowing it all down minutely. ”Beyond Your Last Breath” is a perfect example for this, Phil shows up (nearly) all major time phrases – high octane pumping and then more or less taking his foot of the pedal. Combined with his knack for poly-rhythmic and tribal drumming, one must assess that Phil is definitely one of the most versatile drummers around.
The riffing is sometimes not even able to follow the mesmerizing drumming, but that shouldn’t bother you, because the whole song and record always make up for it. The guitars also show the hardcore background most clearly, for example when they shredder your ears to pieces in the opening track ”Tied To Stone”. One the other hand we must admit that Justin Sherrell is also able to weave some highly intricate little details into the ravaging rhinos called bands. The last two tracks, ”In The Grey” and the final title-track show that easily. Especially the title track shows it with it melody and mood that are reminding of Alice In Chains and mid-phase Paradise Lost at the same time. Even the guitar solo works in the context and is not a simple add-on.
Talking about comparisons, another one that will come up is probably Baroness – also because of the vocals which are very variable. The dual vocals by Sherrell and bassist Phillippe Arman are really well-employed on Nefarious Wave. We find everything from vocals that sound like John Dyer Baizley to classical hardcore shouting to blackened screaming and some strong growls. But very often we also have a vocal harmony somewhere in the background.
When listening to the record with the dirty title you might feel overwhelmed. Like a whole family of bison running through your living room, squeezing just through, but also tearing holes in the wall. At the same time you can do nothing but watch in awe because of the beauty of these animals and their strength. On Nefarious Wave Somnuri are rolling down any kind of obstacle, flattening anything in their way – like a steam roller!