Náa: atmospheric black metal interpretation of Mayan creation myths from Venus with urgency

Idolos, Náa, France, Non Posse Mori Records, NPM040 CD digibook (2021)

Emissaries from Venus with Atlantean genealogies (or so they claim) and an interest in Aztec and Mayan mythologies, and in particular the Mayan creation myths of Lady Blood and her twin sons Hunaphu and Xbalanque, the Idolos musicians sally forth with their second EP “Náa”, released on French label Non Posse Mori Records. Known individually as NnK (vocals) and MgRch (instruments), or inhabiting and controlling those unfortunate humans’ minds and bodies, these guys cite as their influences classic 1990s-era Scandinavian black metal acts like Burzum, Darkthrone and Emperor, and Greek BM bands like Rotting Christ and Varathron; they also happen to be keen on 1970s European prog-rockers Goblin, Popol Vuh, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis, which interest helps to account for the epic psychedelic / symphonic soundtrack aspect of their music. These Venusian aliens have eclectic tastes indeed!

Initially the music presents as heavy, frizzly-sounding expansive blackened doom with blast-beat drumming with much spacious if dark atmosphere and synth-generated space ambient effects and melodies. Speeding up in the first metal track proper “The Descent”, the music takes on more blackened death influences especially in the groaning giant swamp-toad lead vocals and becomes a straightforward no-nonsense atmospheric-melodic black / death / doom song. The guitar barrage is very thick and grinding and the synthesiser tone wash effects are cold and inhuman. It’s only with the third and fourth tracks of this mini-album that Idolos’ full power and glory are revealed, with the music ranging from moody space psychedelia and ambient progressive film-soundtrack rock to the most devastating rain-shower black metal grind, all of it topped by those slavering bloated batrachian rumbles and a background choir of wild, crazed screaming and acidic tremolo guitars scrabbling away at industrial-machine speeds. The sinister music is memorable not so much for its riffs (though they can be very good) but for its bleak nature and the promise it holds that if humanity does not heed the warnings being delivered by NnK and MgRch to rediscover and reconnect with its past stories, histories and the values and ideals they espouse, we do not have a future on this lonely blue planet.

The finest music comes in the last few minutes of the EP where the emotion and the expansive range of the music are at their greatest, most impassioned and most memorable. Clean vocals appear in this part of the recording with a pleading tone.

I only wish this EP had been longer with an expanded treatment of the Mayan story of Lady Blood and the adventures and travails of her twin sons in Xibalba (the Mayan Underworld). Some styles of music definitely need longer times for listeners not only to be fully immersed in them but to be able to appreciate their richness, emotion and atmosphere, and Idolos’ music is of this type. We humans happen to be slow learners compared to Venusians.

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