A Nameless Dread – The First Nothing
Release Date: 31/10/2020
Running Time: 27:36
Review by Dark Juan
My Legions! Fear not for your exile for the good of the realm shall soon be over! Then you can go back outside and continue your work of subverting the word of the False God while you are rampaging around Heron Foods and Iceland and Bargain Booze (or CK’s if you’re in Wales) buying anything that catches your fancy for Yule, and checking out the arse of that attractive checkout attendant on the way past after making such a dent in your plastic, you’ll be paying for it until the Rapture. It just so happens I might have the soundtrack for the madness of Yuletide (I refuse to use the name of the False Lord with regard to this time of year. I have no time for imported Middle Eastern death cults. Transubstantiation, indeed… Our Lord Belial would be mocked unmercifully if His minions wandered around claiming eating a bit of dry bread and supping some wine turns into a bit of prime evil rump steak and Holy vampirism. I mean, just fuck off) in the form of this South African extreme metal band named A Nameless Dread. See what I did there?
Yes, Africa. Not a continent that is YET currently renowned for heavy metal music. However, we at Ever Metal are committed to sharing with you metal from across the globe and especially from underrepresented nations. There will be more from Africa, I can promise you, because from what I can judge from AND (I’m not writing it a million times so sod off) there is a rich and untapped vein of talent in that there continent. Anyway, A Nameless Dread are from Johannesburg and quote that they have influences from cosmic horror to gore. These are interests that Dark Juan can only encourage.
So, yeah, this is my first foray into the world of African metal and I’m excited by it, so far. AND play a form of extreme metal that has leanings towards the earlier death metal end of the spectrum with added At The Gates and Deicide. Vocalist (to say singer would not be strictly accurate considering what he does with his voice) Rhett Freeman unleashes the kind of vocal apocalypse that would delight any fan of early death metal, being as he appears to be able to cover a range from vomiting up his own anal tract to screaming like there’s sharp stuff being jabbed into his eyes. He has a fine voice for this style of music. The guitar work of Damian Buys is also punchy and excellent, and to his eternal credit, he does not just rely on mid paced chugging. There’s some interesting and unusual discordant riffing in places that lifts AND above the usual pile. The songs are all fresh and original and all sound different to each other (Six Feet Under’s last record was a shocker for the songs sounding the same). The bass work is also satisfyingly huge and the drums complex and engaging. However, the production (I know I bang on about production a lot but it’s important for your listening pleasure) is woolly as fuck, man. The guitar work sits far too far forward, the vocals also and the bass sound, although loud as fuck and guaranteed to shake all your organs loose, overpowers the drumming to the point all you can hear is crash cymbal, a bass drum that sounds like it is being played by a wet and limp herring rather than a pedal and an absolutely inaudible snare drum. This is a shame because there are some lovely passages, especially the solo on the opening salvo, entitled ‘The Great Unclean’, which opens with some gentle guitar work, very briefly before the band get bored and instead hit you like a Rooivalk attack helicopter salvoing rockets at your sorry and soon to be violently exploded arse. A Nameless Dread then up the ante a bit on second song ‘Enter Chaos’ with a break that is almost fucking jazzy, whilst still being heavy enough to grind your balls to fluid. Rhett shows his versatility here as well, ranging from subterranean to stratospheric on the vocal front. ‘When God Blinks’ has some lovely African influenced soloing, too.
So, it’s fair to say I’m a bit of a fan of A Nameless Dread then. For my first foray into African metal, this is a fucking good record. The rest of Africa has some work to do to maintain this standard. While it’s not the most inventive record, AND have taken extreme metal (a genre that frequently disappears up its own arse in a welter of identikit riffs and roars) and kept it varied and interesting. The sub-28 minute running time for seven songs also shows the intent of the band to keep it short, punchy and meaningful. And while the production could be charitably described as a bit rough, it does manage to give the band and the songs a raw, dangerous quality that is missing from more polished releases. This album oozes sustained threat and implied violence and that can only be a good thing, boys and girls and everybody of all other genders. You could do a lot worse than buy this record as it is head and shoulders over the recent releases of some of the more established bands in the world (Six Feet Under, I am looking at YOU!)
I like it. I want more, thank you please.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Die gepatenteerde Dark Juan – bloedspatgraderingstelsel – Google Translate is a wonderful thing because I shamefully know ZERO Afrikaans) awards a worthy 8/10 for a good, but flawed record that shows considerable promise for the future. Heavy as a pair of lead underpants.
01. The Great Unclean
02. Enter Chaos
03. Rot With Me
04. When God Blinks
05. Bleached Bone
06. The Resurrectionist
07. Cold Black
Rhett (I keep wanting to put Butler, but I am resisting!) Freeman – Vocals
Desmond Cook – Drums
Damian Buys – Guitar
Tim Botes – Bass
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