This has got to be one the creepiest albums I have ever listened to, and that is a good thing. Naraka’s debut album In Tenebris is heavy, dark, thrashy and just outright evil. It didn’t have an overly tacky satanic vibe to it either like some other death/black metal bands do, it was well executed. Kids… if you are looking for a way to rebel against your god-fearing parents just throw this on!
A common trait that stands out throughout this album is the insane drumming. Specifically, the bass/kick drums which sound like sporadic machine gun fire at times. It is incredible. This album also has a modern metal guitar tone which is clean and crisp. The overall production on this thing just sounds great, all the symphonics and almost choir like vocals at times just drives home this sense of horror. Credit for this goes to Once Human’s (and formerly Machine Head’s) Logan Mader.
“Sleeping in Silence” is my favourite, the bass lines and the guitar tone are brilliant. The vocals are in vast contrast to the rest of the album which makes it stand out a bit more. Once again, the echoey vocal sounds gives it that creepy element. I got the sense that the guitar riff on this one had more of a bluesy inspiration, it was slower but still heavy. It would then burst into this quick aggressive episode.
“Mother of Shadows” also stood out. The cool guitar riff with the little nuances, the background synthetics and the female vocals make it unique. The drumming again is great. the use of the harp gives the contrasting heavenly vibe compared the rest of the song, which seems to me to be about the devil. This use of religious symbolism such as the harp which is typically played by and angel or cherub, who represent light and purity, being used in a song about the devil, who is the king of lies and lord of the underworld, is pushing the boundaries of what is considered good and evil. ‘The power of Christ compels you, the power of Christ compels you.’ Overall, it is a good song.
When I googled what Naraka meant and found out it was a Hindu word for Hell, I was a bit concerned it would be another cliché satanic band. Personally, I don’t find that stuff too interesting. I don’t mind when a band dabbles in it and writes a song or two around the topic, but when it becomes their entire focus it just bores me. However, Naraka proved to be very different. They showed skill throughout the whole album and kept me intrigued.
I am looking forward to seeing Naraka create new material. Their heavy approach mixed with their ability to create a great sounding and well produced album will have me keeping an eye on them.
In Tenebris is out on October 8th