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Review: Neaera - Armamentarium

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2008
Duration: 57:05
Tracks: 12
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: August 23, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating

Rated 2.67/5 (53.33%) (3 Votes)

Neaera plays some pretty busy Death Metal, bordering on a blackened form of Death Metal at times, and, as required by the trend of the month, incorporating a few "core" influences.  There are two main things that struck me with this release: (1) This is a busy album.  It is basically an unrelenting assault of decent Death Metal, although you've got to love blast beats to get through this, as the album is filled with it.  By busy, I mean that this is loaded as hell: fast riffs are accompanied with some subtle (and not so subtle) melodies, and beyond the blast beats the drums can get interesting, if not intricate at times.  (2) I can't stand the vocals.  While there are a few very well executed deep growls, the majority of the vocals are of the screamo variety, not unlike what you'd hear from a metalcore band.  To add insult to the injury, the vocals are loud in the mix, often overshadowing the music.  That annoys me when the vocals are good, so imagine when they reek of the suck.  The end result is that this totally ruins the musical experience for me, and I found every listen excruciating for that very reason.  Still, one can't penalize the often great music on display here by dropping the score too low on that account alone.  This aural assault showcases great musicianship, and despite the barrage of blastbeats and fast guitars that almost never seem to stop, there is a lot of variety to be found here - given enough listen.  Get me an instrumental version and I'll do just that.  For those who can stand the vocals and some "core" influences, this is a fine album.

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