Neaera - Let the Tempest Come
Described by their label as a death metalcore act, I didn't really get too excited at first. Seeing as how the market is flooding beyond comprehension with metalcore acts, many bands and labels try to put a twist on describing their bands' sound just to get people to at least listen and not immediately dismiss it.
Well, whatever preconceived notions this band's "genre label" made you think of...forget them! This may be a mixture of metalcore and melodic death metal, but that mixture is laid down as one monster of an album. This album is big and bad and devastating! Whether it's the mind numbing riffs, the galloping rhythms, the roaring double bass, or the downright vicious vocals that combine black shrieking with guttural growls...Neaera will leave you completely satisfied and wishing that all metalcore-influenced bands sounded this fresh and exciting. This is a band that pours a passion into what they do, and it's obvious both musically and lyrically.
Speaking of lyrics, Neaera spends a great deal of time attacking the institutions of government and religion. That will usually upset some on both sides of the fence, and probably will here as well. However, in their ranting and raving, they say some things that have more truth than some might be willing to admit. Check out the lyrics to "God-Forsaken Soil" (which speaks of the Catholic church)..."Conservatism, immunity, and pride/Has pushed you far aside/Versus renewal and equality/You have mistaken your fear for dignity." While those lyrics can be taken in a too far of a liberal direction as well (where equality becomes closer to reverse-racism and discrimination), they do paint a very real picture of many churches, whether Catholic or Protestant in nature....where pride and fear rule the day and the outsider is viewed as some lesser being that's not worth their time because they don't share the same values and faith. But then the band falters in their next statement...."Ages keep changing...your values don't." Sorry guys, but there's nothing wrong with values that make sense and that are honorable and moral. Just cause society changes doesn't make society's new ideas right.
Then the song "Desecrators" also has some interesting lyrics in regard to religious abuse..."Your view of religion/Sheer insult to your God and prophet/Divine words to unleash your fear/The non-believers are only you/....Murder, hate, wrath - your holy trinity/...Promised a velvet seat in Heaven/But you gain a bed of nails in hell/The sacred slaughter is holiness to sell." For a band that seems to take the liberal, non-religious stance most of the time, there is a lot of truth here in regards to religion. For those who embrace religion in place of a relationship....it's obvious here that even those you look down your nose at can see through your facade.
Anyways...sorry to focus so much on lyrics here and ramble so much. Just thought they deserved some comment. As for the album as a whole...very good stuff! It's your introduction to a world where fans of As I Lay Dying and Dark Tranquility walk hand in hand.
Review By: Matt Morrow
Label: Metal Blade Records
Total Songs: 11
Total Time: 50:35
Tracklisting: 1. Mechanisms of Standstill, 2. Let the Tempest Come, 3. Plagueheritage, 4. God-Forsaken Soil, 5. Heavenhell, 6. Desecrators, 7. The Crimson Void, 8. I Love the World, 9. Paradigm Lost, 10. Life Damages the Living, 11. Scars of Gray.
Best Songs: Tracks 2, 3, & 5.
Band Lineup: Benny Hilleke - Vocals, Tobias Buck - Guitar, Stefan Keller - Guitar, Sebastian Heldt - Drums, Benjamin Donath - Bass.
Band Website: http://www.neaera.com