Things You Might Have Missed 2013: Cóndor – Nadia

Condor-NadiaAt first glance, this band’s name looks like that of a typical thrash metal band. This definitely has to do with my learning of a fairly unknown Norwegian thrash metal band with a nearly identical name a few months ago. But even then, just look at the form of the word “Cóndor” – two syllables, starts with ‘C’ and ends with ‘r’, and a mere six alphabets in total. This word simply has great potential to be crafted into a pointy, symmetrical logo with polish effect in the style of, say, Havok’s logo. Stereotypes, however, aren’t always accurate. In this case, the aforementioned stereotype is faulty because empirical evidence suggests that Cóndor is a doom/death band with a lead guitarist who seems to worship old Black Sabbath. This places the band quite a distance away from thrash in the vast and varied spectrum of metal sub-genres.

The most impressive aspect of Cóndor’s music is the very expressive, pentatonic-scale-based soloing of the lead guitarist, whom probably originally played for an instru-metal, Slack Babbath (circa 1970) from another Earth in an alternate universe, but accidentally fell through a random wormhole one day and ended up in our Earth’s Colombia. Doom/death metal bands usually focus more on coming up with crunchy riffs, nailing the calm-before-the-sonic-storm technique, and have lead guitarists who come up with guitar solos too brief to stick in people’s heads for long so that they don’t steal the limelight from the riffs. Hence, it’s a blast of fresh air to hear such a new and unknown band—from a country that receives little to no media exposure in the world of metal no less—giving doom/death metal a new, old twist.

Although Cóndor has a harsh vocalist who growls in a low pitch, harsh vocals seldom appear in most of the songs on Nadia. When they do, they often appear halfway into the songs (“No Pudo La Muerte Vencerme”). In fact, the record is almost instrumental doom/death! In fact, there is a purely instrumental track in the form of the melancholic and slightly bouncy fourth song, “Eowyn.”

cóndor_2013An iffy, potential problem with instru-metal is that the instrumental sections have to really stand on their own by possessing a certain drive so as to remain attention-grabbing – or else they risk lapsing into musical meandering. And Cóndor has managed to avoid this problem; despite the doom/death metal sub-genre’s trademark slow tempo, the instrumental sections in Nadia are kinetic enough to avoid having the plodding pace become a handicap to the album’s listenability. This is most likely due to the presence of groovy riffs (especially in “Aure Entuluva”) and the aforementioned expressive lead guitar soloing.

Audiophiles will also dig Nadia’s audio production quality. According to the AMG follower who recommended this record, Nadia is a DR12 record, which means it has a dynamic audio production, unlike most modern metal records engaged in the Loudness War. And it’s not like the band achieved this type of production for the sake of itself. This style of production actually suits Cóndor’s musical style, because the band’s guitarists have a penchant for summoning molten-lead-like, sonic waves that swell, gradually dissipate, ebb and flow; creating the illusion that the music takes on a life of its own once it starts playing through the speakers. Those very same sonic waves are also capable of evoking beauteous, post-apocalyptic scenery that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the Ergo Proxy anime.

Nadia is perhaps one of 2013’s most severely overlooked underground gems from an unknown band from a country often ignored by the mainstream metal press. You can’t get any more kvlt than being in such a band and producing such a record. Extreme metal hipsters, take note: you guys should add this band to your “To-Listen” list. [We don’t tolerate no hipsters round these here parts.Steel “Leave the Hall” Druhm].

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