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Narjahanam: Wa Ma Khufiya Kana A'Atham

I'm sure someone knowledgeable in such things will fill in the blanks, but even putting the title of this second album, Wa Ma Khufiya Kana A'Atham, from Bahraini (yes, Bahraini!) Black/Folk/Oriental Metal duo Narjahanam into Google or Bing translate provides no literal interpretation of what this album's name means in English. Hence, with a beautiful booklet filled with evocative imagery but no lyrics, there's little way in which I can comment on the thematic content of this album. So it's just as well that Mardus (vocals and bass) and Busac (guitars and drum programmes) combine in Narjahanam in such a way that their musical message comes across loud and clear.

In terms of style what this pair provide is mid paced Black Metal with strong influences from their native Eastern/Oriental sounds and a Folk element which comes through via the expertly imagined programming, no doubt. The easy comparison would be Orphaned Land, with riffs raining down through an ethnic approach which marries to the Western styles to make hypnotically brutal fare. However with no clean passages or overtly Progressive edge apparent here and the Oriental influence running continuously throughout each and every song, the similarities may be obvious, but the obvious difference are equally strong.

What else is apparent right from the off, is that the advancement of technology and ease with which bands can now create strong production values in their own surrounds means that the long held opinion that US and European metal outfits have a clear edge over their cousins from further afield, is no longer the case. Narjahanam have hammered out an album that's as cutting edge and convincing as anything you'll hear from more obvious sources. Mardus is a growler in the guttural sense; grating, aggressive, hugely impressive, Busac's guitars are thick, heavy as hell and a swipe of forceful precision that hits home every time. Add in swirling synths where dark atmospheres arrive in ghostly fashion and the ability this pair have to build truly engaging barrages of noise becomes blatantly apparent through "Ma Bayn Althulumat" and "Hushood Alnar"; the pair utterly believable jabs of aggression and style.

Keeping up with every new band and album is utterly impossible these days but if you're limiting your sights to what the latest US, UK and Western European acts have to offer, then you are missing out on some truly impressive bands throwing out some of the most interesting and diverse music around right now. Add Narjahanam to that list; Black Metallers with an eye on the less expected.

Track Listing
1. Intro / Narjahanam
2. Kahf AlKhulood
3. Qudoom AlSultan
4. Rimal AlZaman
5. Symphonyat AlMowt 1
6. Symphonyat AlMowt 2
7. Hushood al Nar
8. Ahlu AlQuboor
9. AlMalda a
10. Sulaiman
11. Kitab AlTuqoos

Added: March 1st 2015
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Narjahanam on facebook
Hits: 2508
Language: english

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