Nemesium – Continua Review

For the better part of this calendar year, I’ve mostly thrown myself either into the comfort zones of yesteryear, or kept things to the doomy and gloomy. Granted, seeing as how I’ve cut my teeth reviewing quality doom and such, it can be a tad bit difficult to periodically venture outside of these zones. After all, everyone here is an expert on their chosen sub-sub-genre of music, and who can best give you a feel for something other than a person who’s been devouring it for a majority of their lives? But there are times that that little hunger for the visceral creeps up, and I need to have that itch at the very least tickled, and only the most extreme of extreme metal can satisfy that particular pang. Do Aussie newcomers Nemesium succeed in flaying my skin raw with their debut, Continua?

Not quite, but their attempt at doing so leads to some fairly impressive results. Proper opener “Archetype” wastes no time ripping you new orifices, oftentimes sounding like what The Black Dahlia Murder would if they took their inspirations from Anaal Nathrakh instead of the death metal scene from Gothenburg, Sweden. Sure, there are guitar harmonies by Chris McEwin and Andrew Reid as well as the screaming/growling vocal interchange by Clint Williams that harken the influence of the former, but the intensity and sheer chaos of the latter is hard to ignore, especially in the blistering drumming of Justin Rhodes. It’s this go-for-broke, take-no-prisoners assault that most metal bands, new or established, would kill for as an opener, and already Nemesium toss a heavy titanium gauntlet at the feet of their peers.

It’s at this breakneck intensity that sees Nemesium shine the brightest. “Annihilation Prophecy” adds enough hooks and twists in its five-minute onslaught, including a tasty guitar-and-bass solo duel near the song’s end, with bassist Marcus Ritli showing off some incredible chops. Album closer and highlight “Relive This Nightmare” opens with a somber melody before throwing down the album’s best hooks, riffs, and soaring melodies, all while bludgeoning you into a worn-out, gelatinous pulp. At once heavy and pummeling while attaining just enough melody to be borderline majestic, “Relive This Nightmare” could very easily whip a live crowd into an absolute frenzy of bodies. If the entire album could match or exceed its (almost) book-ends, Continua would be a death metal album for the ages.

That damn word, “could,” though. It’s not to say that the rest of the album is greatly lacking or is complacent, but there are some issues that mar the whole. For starters, its three interludes are largely unnecessary. Actual album opener “Antecedent” is just the typical “movie sample as opener” that doesn’t serve any purpose. “Continuum” made me think I was listening to the last few minutes of Acid Bath‘s Paegan Terrorism Tactics, complete with bongos, and I was half expecting Dax Riggs to start rambling. And “My Final Fight,” while containing a nice guitar melody, felt so largely out-of-place, as it conjured up mental images of Eric Draven about to square off against Top Dollar, but not without cranking out a solo or three on an abandoned rooftop somewhere in Detroit first. Elsewhere, while I usually appreciate some variances of tempo, in this case it doesn’t work as well for the band. “The Fire and the Flesh,” during its slower moments, goes for a latter-day Death vibe that doesn’t mesh right with Continua‘s overall theme. And as the album progressed, the compressed mix proved to be fatiguing which, combined with some of the more lackluster riffs on display, took Continua down a peg or two in terms of enjoyment factor.

With all that said, though, the bright spots on Continua are borderline blinding, with its razor-sharp riffs, fantastic solos, and stellar performances by everyone involved. In due time, I can easily see Nemesium hanging with today’s juggernauts in an album or two. As it stands, Continua is a good, intriguing view of what’s to come, and I’ll be keeping an eye on these gents from here on out. If you enjoy breakneck riffs and incredible melodies, you’ll be doing the same.

 


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Black Lion Records
Websites: nemesium.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/nemesiumofficial
Releases Worldwide: June 12th, 2020

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