Al-Namrood - Atba’a Al-Namrood
Shaytan Productions
Arabian Black Metal
4 songs (20:01)
Release year: 2008
Shaytan Productions
Reviewed by Goat

It’s not often one gets to highlight bands from Saudi Arabia, especially Black Metal ones, and this limited-to-a-thousand-copies EP has been sitting in my impulse-purchase pile for about nine months awaiting a review. Musically, Al-Namrood (‘the non-believer’, a reference to the Qur’anic King Namrood (‘Nimrod’ being the Biblical equivalent) who pronounced himself ‘god of all creation’) play raw Black Metal with clear Middle-Eastern elements; the opening title track features percussion in front of a wall of noise-type ambience, and demonic-sounding croaked vocals. Keyboards play Eastern-sounding melodies (forgive me, but that’s about the best way I can describe them with my limited knowledge of the technicalities of music) and the song isn’t excessively complex but only gets better with repeated listens.

Although the band rarely go into the usual light-speed riffing and blasting that you’d expect from raw Black Metal – note the small ‘r’, this is nowhere near the harsh depths of the Wolds and Ildjarns out there – it’s interesting to note how the band seem to place the two completely different styles over each other. Fe Zafrat Almout starts and soon turns into a furious Black Metal storm, but then switches into a slow, strange pounder in which distant percussion and thin, melancholic riffs fight for prominence before the vocals enter the fray. The percussion turns into a typical Black beat, and never quite takes off properly, the final section turning very odd indeed as the disparate elements clash. Interesting and intense, but there’s something missing, something hinted at on Naqoos Alkhazar with the clearer Eastern elements but still not quite achieved.

If there’s a moment where the band really trips up, it’s the vocals, often not sitting at all well with the music, and barely changing in tone. Moments like the ambient styling of closing track Youm Tusa’ar Awaheem would work much better with fewer vocals, and whilst the song doesn’t quite fall into the same trap as its precursor by making the musical elements themselves work together, it’s still rather disjointed.

You can forgive the band much of this, seeing as Atba’a Al-Namrood is their debut release. According to their MySpace and Shaytan Productions’ website, a new album is recorded and due for release this year, and hopefully then the issues will have been sorted and a more coherent and restrained Black Metal style can result. I’ll do my best to hunt a copy down; in the meantime, although I can’t quite recommend Al-Namrood in their current form, fans of early Melechesh and original Black Metal especially should remember the name.

Killing Songs :
Atba’a Al-Namrood
Goat quoted no quote
Other albums by Al-Namrood that we have reviewed:
Al-Namrood - Estorat Taghoot reviewed by Charles and quoted 80 / 100
Al-Namrood - Astfhl Al Tha’r reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
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