Nahar- The Strange Inconvenience

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nahar’s debut full length was an intriguing effort that had some truly entrancing riffs mixed in with some slightly awkward transitions and songs that didn’t always hit the level of atmosphere they were hinting at. Despite its flaws I found it to be a worthy listening experience, and was quite interested in seeing where the French duo had taken their material on The Strange Inconvenience. This release comes four years after its predecessor, and finds the band dropping the mid-tempo depressive black metal song structures in favor of much slower build-ups that have a bit of a doom vibe. It’s a more fluid release that isn’t quite as in your face as what the band has done before but it’s just as ominous sounding and showcases a significant leap forward in songwriting.

The tracks on The Strange Inconvenience are on the longer side, but the instrumentals utilize this time effectively in order to build up to truly stunning levels of atmosphere. La fascination du pire had some similar build ups, but it was still focused on a louder black metal template. The difference between the two albums is that Nahar now spends just as much time on softer, ominous passages as they do on ones that have all out wall of sound and their material feels much more nuanced than before. Black metal still plays a prominent role, but there are elements of doom, blues, and drone/ambient woven into the songs. There were a few specific riffs on The Strange Inconvenience that reminded me a bit of the blues infused black metal Glorior Belli has been playing in recent years, but the band doesn’t stick with this style for long. What makes Nahar stand out more than before is the way that everything flows together, as the songs establish strong lead riffs early and then build up to stunning climaxes that have a harsher, ominous feel. The ambient/droning breaks from before are used once again but they are implemented into the material in a more natural fashion than before. It’s interesting just how far the group has branched out stylistically from one release to the next, and it has paid off as the tracks have a better progression than before and impress from one moment to the next.

Sorghal’s vocal work was one of the elements of the band’s material I found to stand out before, and it remains a strength on The Strange Inconvenience. He still utilizes a raspier lower pitched scream/growl on many of the songs, but there is an even greater emphasis on clean singing than before. This is evident early on, as the opening track “Grey-concrete… Comfort” puts cleaner tones into the mix a little over halfway in and they are used in a very different way than before. While the singing had more of a chanting/whispered feel before it has more of a psychedelic vibe here, coming off as much more experimental and off-kilter at times. I prefer the harsher styles the most as they add that extra bit of intensity to the arrangements, but the amount of variation in both the instrumentals and vocals ensures that Nahar always has something a little different to offer listeners.

In a way The Strange Inconvenience is a bit more subdued compared to Nahar’s prior releases, but it makes up for it with more concentrated attacks and a much broader range of stylistic elements. The band has not only gotten more ambitious, but they have managed to pull together their ideas in a more cohesive manner than before and this helps the atmosphere to build naturally and hit a somber yet captivating level. This duo has continued to push past the boundaries of traditional and depressive black metal and have reached a point where they’re truly distinguishable from the rest of the genre.

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