Being a metal band from Holland provides some interesting naming opportunities and when your project has themes of determinism in the lyrics, a name like “fatal” might make sense. Adopting that name but choosing to use the Flemish equivalent, Nefast, adds a unique twist. The band itself has been around about two years and the members cite bands like Iron Maiden, Meshuggah, and Slayer as important influences that brought them into metal. Discomfort, which took about a year and a half for release, is an album that captures the band at a transition point as the band has gone more toward the experimental side of things at this point.
Driving, droning guitars and blast beats open up Discomfort on the track “Discomfort II”. Vocals have that distant feel to them with some echo thrown in for good measure, like they were recorded far away from the rest of the music. Lyrically, the song has a feel of the disillusionment often attributed to the book of Ecclesiastes, which actually fits well with the dark, gloomy atmosphere set by the music. I especially like the slower section of the song complete with some great guitar feedback between the pounding chords and agonizing screams.
In contrast, “Discomfort II” doesn’t really open up in a standard black metal manner, but again the strained agonized vocals do lead the listener there. Gone are the blast beats and the black metal droning guitar sounds and the song transitions into the weird and different before veering back into more traditional sounding black metal.
The nearly 13-minute long “Saturnine, Consolation” opens up with just an interesting drum rhythm before the bass and eventually some clean guitar comes chiming in. Given the length of the song, you can expect an extended musical interlude at the beginning and eventually distorted guitars join the soundscape in a manner that reminds me a bit of something from the post-hardcore instrumental band Comrades. Emotional shouted vocals come in and the song retains a sense of foreboding even as it twists and turns and picks up significant speed at the midpoint, never really getting to the psychedelic or black metal. Likewise, “Absolved” shows the band becoming more experimental in the elements incorporated into the song and when a song is around 13 minutes long, there is a lot of room for experimentation and incorporation of different sounds.
As this album (ep) progresses, it becomes increasingly clear that the members of Nefast have a lot of thoughts as to where the music should go and that journey certainly means avoiding anything predictable. While there are sections in the songs that fans of many genres will appreciate, the combinations of elements and styles, does make this quiet a different experience for the listener.
Written by John Jackson
1. Discomfort II
2. Discomfort I
3. Saturnine, Consolation
Sam – drums
Jesse V – bass, backing vocals
Dann van H – guitar, vocals, lyrics
Record Label: Independent, September 2015
Interview with Nefast (Feb. 2016)
Video for ‘Discomfort’