Neker – Slower Review

Hailing from Italy, Neker is the brainchild of… Wait a second. Neker? That’s… You’re sure that’s what you want to go with? Okay, so if any of you want to recommend this band to any friends or family, say it slowly and enunciate clearly. Maybe over-pronounce the K a little, just for safety’s sake. Neker is the brainchild of vocalist/bassist Nicola Amadori, with help from Daniele Alessi on drums and Alessandro Eusebi on guitars. The rest is all Amadori, and his passions lie with the roots of southern metal and sludge, speaking loftily of such renowned acts as Down, Pantera, Crowbar and Melvins. Can one man fill a record with enough bludgeoning hatred to make New Orleans quake?

”Nosferatu” may cast some doubt with its long, slow sludge doom riff that draws out the album initiation, but “Like There’s No Tomorrow” has a fast-acting remedy: a filthy, crushing riff with a lot of runaway energy and Anselmo-style vocals full of piss and bile. In fact, an apt description of the music here would be to filter Pantera through the lens of Crowbar.1 In comparison to what follows, “Like There’s No Tomorrow” is positively lightspeed; most of the record is focused on muddy, crushing grooves, flowing as dense and unstoppable as the Mississippi river in the middle of a flash flood. The drums are spacious and thudding and the bass reverberates your sternum at sufficient volumes as the vocals bellow and roar with an honest, unconcealed rage.

It’s a simple but effective recipe that thrives on a barebones approach, and Amadori delivers in spades. Perhaps too many spades though. From track to track, the approach is pretty similar, and while an album this simplistic can get away with that at a trimmed down runtime, Slower almost reaches the full hour mark. I’m far from a strict enforcer of the 42 minute rule, but there’s simply not enough substance or diversity here to warrant that length, and my attention will inevitably begin to waver well before the end. This is particularly true since what variety the album does contain is mostly contained in the first half, including the aforementioned high-octane opener proper and the extra slow and doomy “Something From Nowhere.”

Still, it’s hard to deny that Amadori does exactly what he set out to do in a manner that remains consistently entertaining even through its extraneous length. Slower excels as a combination homage and extension of that NOLA sludge scene without frills or bullshit, political or otherwise, and the amount of addictive groove in the riffs never lets up or slows down. The production reflects this attitude, too, as it puts the bottom-end into overdrive. It’s not even as texturally grimy as, for instance, Eyehategod, but the low pace coupled with the massive bass will rattle the glass right out of the windowpanes. The mastering in this context is surprisingly decent, eschewing the High On Fire wall of clipping even when the speakers are pushed to their limits (interlude “Laura Palmer’s Theme,” which opens with a minute of near-infrasound strums).

It makes for a largely satisfying experience that would benefit from a little editing. Cutting out the overlong intro and interlude would have been a good start, for instance, and the tracks near the end could use a haircut of their own. But there’s too much cathartic fun to be had not to recommend Neker. According to the promo sheet, Amadori created the band as an outlet for his feelings and frustrations, and that simple emotional beat is on clear display here. Slower is a big, slightly unwieldy but all-crushing ball of anger and undeniable tectonic grooves, and despite the awkward moniker, I’ll remain on the lookout for more Neker in the future.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Time to Kill Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: June 18th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Isn’t that Down for all intents and purposes? – Steelio
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