Friday 11 January 2019

Neonderthal Death - Neonderthal (Nightmare begins) 7"

Labels: Ektro Records
Formats: Vinyl/Digital
Release Date: 04 Jan 2019


1. Neonderthal (Nightmare Begins)
2. Skeletal Remains

The latter half of 2018 was the first time I had heard of a genre called synthwave. I'd always considered synths to be the preserve of ambient black metal and symphonic metal, but when a promo dropped into my inbox for Swedish death metal/synth duo Neonderthal Death, I was a little intrigued. The duo features mysterious characters that go by the monikers Morbid and Angel (that\s probably where the death metal comes in) and they've combined the two styles on this, their debut 7", which was released by Finnish label Ektro Record on 4th January. What horrors lie within!

I’ll be honest with you, I’ve not caught the synthwave bug yet and while I’ve featured the 100% synth-based Master Boot Record recently (who are brilliant), I’m not fully sold on it. Maybe the added death metal element will help. The title-track Neonderthal (Nightmare Begins) is a strange beast with its synthesised drums and effects sitting alongside the harsh growls. I was expecting the guitar riffs to be higher in the mix but I guess that’s not the point with this. 

Second song Skeletal Brain is a bizarre beast with a sound akin to the original Game Boy game soundtracks. The mix of both harsh and whispered vocals make it more palatable for those not comfortable with death metal but it all feels a bit sterile to me. Neonderthal Death is definitely doing something new in terms extreme metal terms and I guess being more extreme and less synth isn’t going to be the duo’s MO. 

I suppose the metal and indeed extreme metal is always going to limited when it comes to progression and variation, given the confines on the traditional drum/guitar/bass/vocal formula. Neonderthal Death will not be for everyone, but the duo is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable within  extreme metal while also bringing it to the eats of a whew new fan base, which has to be applauded.

You can stream the title-track via Ektro's soundcloud page below:-

As I write this there is no obvious online presence from the duo themselves.

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