Conjuro Nuclear, Re Un, Italy, Avantgarde Music, digipak CD AV294 (2016)
Curious about what was actually behind this album with the short and unassuming name “Re Un” and the equally minimal cover art with the oddly shaped stick, I decided to give this a hearing. And I’m glad I did as, even though the band behind “Re Un” is usually billed as an atmospheric black metal band on the strength of previous recordings it has made, this album is a being of many moods: brooding, sinister and harbouring a deep and simmering malevolence.
Intro track “Communion” sets the standard with a blackly stark ambience against which forlorn tinny guitar tones strike like lightning flashes through deep storm clouds, and which then morphs into a steely and rousing doom metal monster with powerful drumming, clicky beats and throaty BM roars in the far distance. The band’s sound is massive and emanates evil vapours as the musicians race through snaky paths (ah yes, the pace of the song varies from slow to fast) and there are hypnotic silver keyboard thrills running through the guitar chords like quicksilver. “Contemplation” takes the music to another level with some interesting if a bit self-indulgent play with clicky percussion, distorted guitar melody and the dark space that forms the background across the entire album. There is just enough riffing to stop this track from being a meandering improvised mess though some listeners might find the track too long and drawn out to want to follow it all the way to the next track “Conflict” …
… which heralds a more straightforward phase with solid slab-like riffs, a gritty sound, more drumming thunder and ragged vocals screaming over the grinding doom juggernaut. Final track “Closure” is a complicated critter, stewing sullenly in acoustic guitar juices in a dark cauldron for a few minutes before erupting in sudden thunder and thick magma outflows. This track rains down bristly acid-etched riffs weighing a dozen tons each, crashing down around your ears, while gravel voices snarl and howl poison at you.
Each of these tracks offers something different and the results are not always consistent, the second track especially hanging very loosely and appearing to be fragmented compared to the other tighter, more structured tracks. The songs can sound a bit unfinished: they tend to build up and pile on intense emotion, and then they tail off leaving the listener hanging off a cliff as it were. On the whole though Névoa have delivered a work with a very strong individual style, one that ranges from hard-hitting, supremely heavy and epic to the most delicate sounds and the most contemplative moods. “Re Un” would have to be a strong contender for album of the year for its driving, grinding sound and varied style for many listeners.