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Nurkostam - XIII CD (album) cover





2.82 | 16 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Nurkostam: XIII [2005]

Rating: 3/10

XIII is the debut album from Finnish trio Nurkostam. On this short album (only thirty minutes), the band showcases their brand of proggy art-rock. The most apparent influences here are Pink Floyd and King Crimson, and Nurkostam adopt (or attempt to adopt) compositional philosophies of both bands. A Floydian 'less is more' approach dominates most of the album: lush synths, understated vocals, and atmospheric songwriting make it clear what the band was going for here. However, despite possessing the components necessary for a good album of this style, Nurkostam miss the mark with their debut. While there's nothing particularly terrible on XIII, there's absolutely nothing special on it, either. Every song is cold and dispassionate, and the musicianship is unremarkable and underwhelming.

The opener 'Iscream' is a short attempt at a Crimsonian sound. The main riff is actually decent, but this track is still quite underdeveloped. 'Dome' features some more somewhat passable guitar work, but the vocals are quite dull. They slightly remind me of a deeper, less emotional Maynard James Keenan. A fairly interesting guitar solo comes in near the end, but it's practically over before it begins. Overall, though, these first two tracks are decent - average and generally mediocre, but decent. The balladry of 'Alone' is where things really begin to get weak. The vocals and lyrics couldn't be more uninspired, and the instrumentation isn't any different. 'Between' is a Floyd-inspired attempt at space-rock, but it fails. There are moments, particularly the intro, during which I had hope for this track. In the end, however, it goes absolutely nowhere. 'Madness' is heavier, and the synths take center-stage. Yet again, this is neither awful nor particularly good. 'Archie' is the weakest track here. It consists of the sound of a ticking clock, subtle guitar, and flatly morose vocals. I find it hard to believe that anybody can be engaged by this song.

I don't want to thrash this album too harshly. It isn't terrible; at no point during this did I possess - to quote the band's most apparent influence - 'the urge to defecate.' Nevertheless, I never felt any sort of positive reaction to the music, either. To put it simply, XIII did absolutely nothing for me. I don't want to tear it apart; I don't want to praise it. The music had no effect on me whatsoever. It's dull, inspired, and flat throughout its brief duration. This is what it would sound like if the placebo effect was made into a prog-rock album. I greatly respect the band for expressing themselves on a musical level, but it's obvious that they had quite a bit of compositional maturity to undergo during this early stage of their careers. Prog fans would not be doing themselves any harm by skipping this.

Anthony H. | 2/5 |


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