Review: Netherhall – Imaculer

Netherhall have been making waves within the heavy metal scene recently, managing to make their way in to the final of Metal 2 the Masses (M2tM) Birmingham just this past weekend. The Birmingham-based progressive quartet have certainly made an impact, and if you were lucky enough to hear them live, then you’ll be pleased to know that the band’s upcoming EP, Imacular, is due to be released at the end of the month. We here at The Moshville Times have been able to get a sneak peak, and can say with confidence that the upcoming EP is jam-packed with proggy goodness.

When you listen to Imacular, you soon realise how Netherhall have managed to reach the final of M2M. The heavy guitars and deep crunchy bass don’t overwhelm the listener, instead managing to maintain a delicate balance between a light, gentle style of play and a more traditional, heavier style. All of this is achieved while an underlying groove, courtesy of bassist Tom Bushell, continues throughout, occasionally rearing its head to briefly steal the show, before disappearing in to the background where it continues to maintain the foundation of the EP. This is particularly noticeable in the final track of Imacular, “Rainman”, where the band maintain a clean and clear style of play until about halfway through when everything is kicked up a notch. The distant, gentle, and intricate bass of Bushwell is thrown away, choosing instead to dominate the track with his massively heavy and deep riffs, a stark contrast to the style of play from the rest of the song.

The opening track, and what will probably be the lead single, “Fade” perhaps best demonstrates the diversity which Netherhall are able to achieve, with the six and a half minute behemoth tapping into a variety of styles. Opening with a slow and quiet ambient-esque intro, “Fade” draws in the listener, bringing them close, before guitarist Lewis Ward’s clean-cut riffs herald an end to the ambient intro and the beginning of Netherhall’s tight-knit progressive rock. “Fade” seems to play in waves, with the energy of the band rising until bursting point, where the entire band play as one and the full scope of their musical ability is on show, before falling back in to a quiet, and rather delicate sounding, style of play, only to be built up and unleashed once more. This method of continually falling back only to rise up once more keeps “Fade” interesting and enjoyable to listen to, a technique few bands are able to achieve.

Imacular can be be defined as being a demonstration of Netherhall’s technical ability and musical prowess. The EP itself is a complex mix of ambient tranquility, clean, well-defined guitar riffs, and deep, heavy bass, all of which comes together to produce something which leaves the listener wanting more. Netherhall may only be a young band, yet their talent and skills are already showing, an indication as to how far they can rise.

In celebration of the release of Imacular, Netherhall will be playing a launch show at Scruffy Murphy’s in Birmingham, featuring appearances from Pelugion and Brockn Spectre.

Header image by Jonathan Morgan, taken at JJM Studios, Walsall.

Imaculer will be released on the 20th May.

Netherhall: facebook | twitter | soundcloud | youtube | bandcamp

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