Sheffield progressive sludge outfit Naisian have returned with their sophomore album Metal, which sees the trio taking many left turns, bringing a variety of sounds and dynamics to their jagged riffery, resulting in a constantly shifting album that is refreshingly difficult to pigeonhole. Hailing from the UK’s Steel City, it almost seems cliched to describe Naisian’s sound as industrial-tinged, sharp and angular, but that’s exactly what it is; as sharp and as crushing as this album’s title.
The riffs are caustic and cutting throughout the album, resulting in a much leaner sound than the claustrophobic tones most often associated with modern sludge. This is heightened further by the album’s no-frills production, which gives the proceedings an intimate, raw and almost live feel, such as the opening riffs of ‘Liquid Attraction’ which snarl with gnashed teeth before the bruised hardcore infused vocals come raging to the fore. Elsewhere, shades of early Mastodon can be heard in the crushing, bass heavy riffs of ‘Asteroid’ and ‘Brain Throne’, whilst noise elements and vocoder-drenched vocals adorn the industrial ‘FILA’ and ambient synths, piano and organ carry the emotive soundscapes of ‘Vanilla’ to its emotional summit.
In terms of heaviness, Metal sure lives up to its name. However, this is a multilayered album that reveals itself further with each repeated listen. The quieter, more experimental tracks offset the crushing heaviness of others perfectly, resulting in a uniquely rewarding and intense listening experience.
Metal is available 18th September via Sludgelord Records and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg