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NI.

RIO/Avant-Prog • France


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ni. biography
A French shady riff ministry named NI. were founded in late 2000s as an experimental rock quartet by Anthony BÉARD (guitar), François MIGNOT (guitar), Benoit LECOMTE (bass), and Nicolas BERNOLLIN (drums), that get up our nerve via their aggressive experiments on music material. Their debut EP titled "ni" has been released in 2010 upon their bandcamp page.

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NI. discography


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NI. top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.02 | 15 ratings
Les Insurgés de Romilly
2015
3.92 | 33 ratings
Pantophobie
2019

NI. Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NI. Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

NI. Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

NI. Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.04 | 4 ratings
ni
2010
4.05 | 6 ratings
ni
2012

NI. Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Les Insurgés de Romilly by NI. album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 15 ratings

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Les Insurgés de Romilly
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Grumpyprogfan

4 stars ni are a loud, brutal and mostly instrumental band that is new to me. Glad I found them. A quartet that includes two guitars, bass, and drums. When I need to listen to something that is intense, modern, and blows my socks off I'll reach for ni. My lame attempt to describe them would be a cross between Primus and heavy heavy heavy rock and roll. Odd time signatures, tricky syncopated beats, and dissonant chaos. You need thick skin to appreciate the madness of ni.

Highlights include "Marpaud"... love the unison guitars playing against the heavy backbone of the locked and loaded beat. The beginning of "Butor" sounds like it could be a song by Black Label Society, but not for long. The relentless pounding bass line, the psychedelic sounding guitar and the screams takes it up a notch. The song crescendo's to a climax and then a narrator speaking French? ends the song. Got to give them credit for being unique and original. The final track "Torfesor", has a repetitive tribal beat through the first half of the song and then, out of nowhere, ni slams into a killer riff that you weren't expecting. Great closer. "Torfesor" takes up 39:40 of space on the CD. The music only last for 5:41. Silence, maybe needed, until 39:35 when a voice appears and talks for five more seconds. No, I didn't sit through the silence. I had to fast forward the player to see it anything was there, and yep it was. Anyway, that is the bonus you get for the buying the CD.

The superb artwork that comes with the disc fits the music like a glove. A bit twisted but imaginative. Also, if you order a physical copy from their bandcamp page they will send some special stickers with your purchase.

 Pantophobie by NI. album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.92 | 33 ratings

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Pantophobie
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars It does not take a lot to get me confused, but with two albums from Ni one would imagine they were the same band, especially as they are both inhabiting the RIO space, but no. Both bands have been in existence for a number of years, both releasing albums, yet they are not connected at all and actually come from different countries, with this Ni hailing from France. I must admit to loving the description of these guys on their label's website where it says, "The big bad Ni has left the linear roads of the French department of Ain ? from which it came ? in order to live in a complex world paced by electrical sounds and varying polyrhythms. In its temple, shouts of the quartet make the windows crack, a stunning nervousness makes the walls stand and, finally, the strong foundations remove from ages to come all doubts regarding the durability of all these things. Inside, it is always like a squall: children run in all directions and parents dance around the bonfire. The waltz, the 4/4-time signature and verse and chorus structures take one last breath before being burned to ashes at the core of this fire."

Here we have a group who are taking experimental and RIO and melding this with mathcore in a way which means there are times when they are quite heavy indeed, and while never really moving into the realms of the likes of Protest The Hero are definitely heading in that direction. It is unusual to hear this style of music being played with such an obvious appreciation for metal, and some of the riffs being deployed are definitely very different to many of their contemporaries. It is certainly experimental and again vocals are only used sparingly, with the album being instrumental apart from the odd scream and over the top vocals here and there. One imagines that in a concert environment these guys get very heavy indeed, and while the musical strands do make one think of the likes of King Crimson at times, there are also plenty of far heavier and over the top moments which makes one realise these guys are metalheads at heart. It may actually be too heavy for those who enjoy their experimental music to be rather less metallic, but for me this is a real delight.

 Pantophobie by NI. album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.92 | 33 ratings

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Pantophobie
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars Not feel phobic at NI's heaviness. This album 'Pantophobie' can be mentioned as another creativity by a French avantgarde project NI. You should suffer from a large burn if you easily think this is sorta French RIO production.

From the beginning of the first track "Heliophobie" heavy, deep, metallic sound complication explodes widely. This crazy atmospheric effect can be heard via some Tech / Extreme Metal or Experimental / Post Metal projects, not simply Avantgarde progressive ones. The second "Alektorophobie" is kinda madness too ... distorted, dissected voices completely scratch our inner mind. A short but excessive track indeed, and this audible procession would let you expect much.

Sarcastic intonated disclosure and convoluted sound complexity could be interpreted as NI's laughter in a cynical manner. In "Leucoselophobie" sticky perverted sound vision (yes sounds visible really) grabs your live energy out, followed by massive attack of sound that should be squeezed into your vacant brain. Dynamic, energetic sonic inferno is quite impressive for all of avantgarde rock fans let me say. Melodic lines in 'Catagelophobie' would remind you of the similar vein to King Crimson in Discipline Era (more and more complicated needless to say though). This repetitive tonebox collective is definitely lovely.

Anyway sorta tough issue is hard-edged melodically minor stream in a deep, magnificent metallic manner keeps on and on from the beginning until the epilogue 'Stasophobie' ... really wondering what their real phobia is. But hey, it's even interesting with thinking around lots of things around NI, I imagine?

 Pantophobie by NI. album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.92 | 33 ratings

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Pantophobie
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars "Ni" is the name of the RIO/Avant-prog band from France that calls themselves "a French shady riff ministry". The music could also be classified as Experimental Metal or Math Metal. The band has 2 guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. The band was founded and released their first EP in 2010, then another EP in 2012. Their first full length album was released in 2015, and then four years later, they finally released their 2nd full length album "Pantophobie" (which means fear of everything. There are 9 tracks on this album and each is named after some type of phobia.

Beginning with "Heliophobie" (fear of the sun or bright light), it starts with single guitar chord and drum hits and after a while a dissonant melody begins with a guitar while the other instruments continue to pound away with the single chord hits. After 2 minutes, the entire band quits the single chords and plays a dark, ominous and progressive instrumental. Things get louder and there are screaming vocals deep in the mix that never get overused. Complexity builds in the melody line as the thumping and heavy background continues.

"Alecktorophobie" (fear of chickens) is a quicker tempo with the same dark feeling, but with a catchier riff and some goofy spoken word and vocal sounds. There is more psycho screaming here too, but I think it's supposed to be humorous, and it is not mixed to the front either, so it doesn't take away from the excellent heavy sound of the avant-prog guitars. "Lachanophobie" (fear of vegetables) begins more atmospheric and mysterious with the bass meandering and spooky sounding guitar effects. After one minute, the band kicks in with jangly guitars, sounding almost post-rock in the process. The guitars play against each other with dissonant notes. The middle part of the track starts a progressive stop/start rhythm while a guitar plays short snippets of riffs. Later, a rolling bass line steadies out the rhythm while the guitars play arpeggios increasing the intensity to return to the main riff with the wild vocals screaming in the background.

"Leucoselophobie" (irrational fears) begins with echoing guitars in a psychedelic style. The band starts up after a minute with a complex, progressive heavy rhythm and some neat sliding guitar effects. "Catogelophobie" (fear of being verbally abused or put down) starts right off with a lumbering guitar and Primus style vocal noises and music. Things get more intense at times, but still has that Primus vibe with heavy bass and funky guitar riffs. Just before 2 minutes, it suddenly gets sludgy sounding as the rhythm slows way down and then works its way back to the original sound.

"Athazagoraphobie" (fear of forgetting or being forgotten) has a mellower feel to it, striving for more of a heavy fusion sound, while still being complex. When the second guitar comes in, things intensify. After 2 minutes, it all becomes minimalistic with short sudden bursts of energy. Suddenly, screaming vocals join in to a heavy guitar riff. Then the guitars and drums start to churn making for a dizzying build to different climaxes just to return to that churning feeling in order to build to another heavy climax each time. A wild screaming guitar joins in on one of these builds. Even though this started out with a mellow sound, it definitely gets quite crazy by the end.

"Khakorrhaphiophobie" (fear of failure) begins loud and complex at the beginning with warring guitars creating dissonant harmony and a heavy start/stop bottom end. After the King Crimson Discipline-like section, things get suddenly slow and sludgy at around 3 minutes. After 5 minutes, the tempo starts to pick up returning to the original sound. "Lalophobie" (fear of speaking or talking) fades in with a subdued drone and drums. As the rest of the band comes in, the intensity builds up with different repeating riffs coming from the instruments as they all seem to stumble around trying to find agreement to something. "Stasophobie" (fear of standing or walking) commences immediately to dissonant guitars and complex heaviness.

It would have been nice to have a few tracks with less heaviness mixed in there, but as far as the heaviness factor goes, it is quite unrelenting at times. But the music is always interesting regardless. The screaming vocals are not too over-the-top and not mixed to the foreground, so they don't distract from the overall feel as much as they become another layer of heaviness, and they aren't always there either. The music is definitely complex and heavy, but also unique and experimental, but almost always on the loud side. Experimental Metal and/or Heavy Mathcore would be the description, but the dissonance also lends itself to the Avant-prog genre, but remember that it is noisy and loud.

 Les Insurgés de Romilly by NI. album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.02 | 15 ratings

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Les Insurgés de Romilly
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars Noise / math rock / avant-prog / experimental and bona fide freaks of French underground, ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) can add one more tag to their already eclectic musical palette on their first full-length release debut LE INSURGÉS DE ROMILLY ( The Iinsurgents of Romilly) and that is the tag of avant-garde metal as this quartet of ear abusing misfits ramp up the heaviness after two brief EPs (both eponymously titled have ya) that already utilized an extreme blender style of all kinds of head spinning musical mischief. And instead of chillin' out and headin' for the pop charts (do they even exist any more?), ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) go for the jugular and take all the extremities to new levels of well?. extremeness. Only nearly forty minutes of it instead of half that.

While mostly instrumental like the two preceding EPs, vocals do occur in short bursts whether they be silly, screamed or possessed by demons shouting in agony. This is obviously a band that relishes the most unrelenting and brutal elements of music that are humanly possible. Once again we are treated to an intense session that in this case consists of eight bombastic tracks that revolve around hyper syncopated groove rhythms on the bass the proceed with unthinkable time signature deviations in every crazed and looney way possible with unexpected passages into psychedelia or placid moments that belie the true schizophrenic nature of this most disharmonic festival of earache music.

In terms of intensity and bombast, ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) reminds me a lot of the Japanese bombast band Ruins with unrelenting brutal prog sensibilities that include time signatures run amok, jagged compositional procedures and staccato rich stop / start math rock nerdiness. All these elements are present on the eponymous EPs but ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) was obviously not satiated by these procedures and turned the spigot ALL the way on to let the craziness flow in gushers. Once again fellow countrymen PoiL seem to have had an influence on their latest diversification project into myriad directions outside their usual "brutal at all costs" methodology as heard on tracks like "Torfessor" that use the brutal math rock meets avant-prog playbook to creating grindingly "normal" atmospheres.

As with most avant-prog of this magnitude that fuse a whole host of disparate elements together at a breakneck pace, this stuff is not for the faint of heart and only enjoyable by the hard skinned headbangers who love heavily bombastic music doubly bombastified with every prog element stuffed into every cadence and measure. While ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) may seem like a recipe for robotic desensitized music that is completely devoid of emotional connection and soul, these guys really know how to caress and pacify these chunks of brutality into logical patterns that while by no means qualify as easy listening are somehow neutered from their alienating effect with silly vocal utterances and quirky stylistic juxtapositions. ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) certainly are not poised to become the next Radiohead by any means but within their tightly knit underworld culture of crazy brutal avant-prog, they will surely please.

 ni by NI. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
4.05 | 6 ratings

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ni
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The 2nd eponymously titled EP by ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) came out two years after the debut and continues their frenetic avant-prog zaniness and takes it to new levels. While the first EP established the freaks from the Rhône-Alpes region of France as a seriously dangerous proggy noise band that is sure to please all connoisseurs of complex yumminess, this second EP takes all those elements and adds a heightened sense of daring experimentation with vocals and more stylized compositions that break free from the all-bombast-all-the-time mostly present on EP #1. While there is over-the-top bombast in ample doses throughout this slightly longer offering that hosts an additional track over the debut, this one too has more placid, even hypnotic segments that spring up when least expected.

While the funk guitar plays a role as on the debut, it doesn't dominate quite as much with more metal sounding riffs cranking out as well as pure avant-prog angularities and Ruins-esque type heavy zeuhl madness. The vocals take on various shades including blood- curdling screams to more smooth utterances as well as playful "dolphin chirps". As far as i can tell, the lyrics are totally nonsensicle. Somewhere between the two self-titled releases i do believe that ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) discovered the zany wacky world of fellow countrymen PoiL as they begin to delve into some of the same silliness that those guys are known for. It is a welcome advancement as it makes the musical approach much more diverse than on the debut which i already found exhilaratingly exciting.

EP #2 is also graced with psycho-grooves which would be perfect for a totally schizoid dance floor as it's quite rhythmic albeit in odd time signature bundles that somehow form musical chains of noise that simultaneously straddle the angular otherworldly adventurism of avant-prog while coalescing into digestible punk infused chunks that crank out as pockets of rhythm. As with the debut, #2 is chock full of nerdy math rock start / stop staccato riffs as well as the sudden breaks into bizarre meanderings into psychedelia or just plain experimental weirdness. ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) display a firm sense of command of their carefully calculated journey into the quantum level of musical creation and seem to have birdlike honing talents to navigate in unison like a swarm of locusts. As with the debut, this one teeters on the tightrope act of complete noisy chaos and accessible grooves. Recommended.

 ni by NI. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2010
4.04 | 4 ratings

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ni
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The 2000s have been delivering an explosive abundance of nerdy math rockers offering up tasty dishes of off-kilter time signature staccato packed avant-prog in full heavy distorted regalia blurring the lines between noise rock, metal, prog, zeuhl and beyond. French math rockers ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) are just one of many from this fertile avant-rich country with this quartet emerging from the Rhône-Alpes region. While these guys have recently joined forces with fellow countrymen PoiL to create the lovable but terrifying supergroup PiNioL, things took off in 2010 with their 1st self-titled debut ni (also emphatically NOT capitalized). Yes, the 1st part of the statement means that they indeed had a 2nd EP titled ni (emphatically NOT capitalized)a in 2012. Orthodoxy is just not a part of their DNA apparently.

EP #1 is a collection of four tracks that are in excellent introduction to the noisy chaotic soundscapes that ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) dish out in punishing doses except they have this underlying current of logic that somehow keeps it in the fun zone. Yeah, this is not for the faint of heart but there's something really grounding beneath the frenetic noisy abundance of angular dissonance, distorted bombast and explosive start / stop staccato abuse. Under it all revolves a surprisingly catchy funk bass groove that allows the trade off of soaring guitar riffs, mutilated riffs and jazzy drum patterns to sail away smoothly not to mention the unexpected breaks into psychedelic dreamy passages that emerge from nowhere that are fortified with nerdy math rock stop / start staccato aggressiveness.

While noise rock can vary in degrees of noisiness, ni (emphatically NOT capitalized) manage to pull off some brilliant circus act juggling by not only keeping the musical elements well balanced in a tightrope act of tension, chaos and accessibility. Purely instrumental, these four guys dish out well constructed compositions that utilize all the noise rock and avant-prog check list elements but add a pacifying sophistication to smooth it all out. Perhaps it's the polished production that allows every instrument to find its niche within the chaosphere or perhaps it's just the skill of the musicians to weave their musical tapestry into a fine high-art craft but something works quite well here. With this much noisy chaos, the album is unrelenting and the short running time suits it well. EP #1 is a keeper.

 ni by NI. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2012
4.05 | 6 ratings

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ni
ni. RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars A funny funky lovely outfit we must love, their name is NI.

Obviously reminds me a rough rumbling sound tough like Primus or Cardiacs (less pop though). Aggressive. Brutal. Crazy. Delightful. Enjoyable. And a bit disorderly through their sound structure. But every single musical space launched by NI is great indeed. They squeeze sound gems and garbage both again and again from the beginning till the end. Such a violent attack can give us a huge comfort. Cannot help melting completely, via their terrific heaviness and speedy bullet launcher named "Non".

Anyway, what's "Carl Lewis"? A super runner or not? Cannot imagine Carl's cheetah-y speed killa but his eccentric skip or rolling like a stone or hopping on one foot. Even heavy riffs surprise us and make us smile. Yes their play is pleasure itself, even if which title they'd chosen and how heavy they'd played. The same touch can be felt in the following track "Marquage Culotte" or "El Gringo", flooded with post-punk-ish heaviness and quirky voices, and fantastically jazzy percussive knocking dances. Cannot dance to their songs that have ugly (sorry) rhythmic structure, but may shake ourselves without any intention.

30 minutes should be given for their EP, filled with post-punk / aggressive avantgarde explosion. Anyway, the last track "Grand Barbier" is a horror seasoned with symphonic horrible aura and funky phrase / voices "We are the knights who say NI!", and dramatic cool "Red" Crimson-ish post rock. Listen and laugh to one of their masterpieces.

Thanks to DamoXt7942 for the artist addition.

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