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NeBeLNeST - NeBeLNeST CD (album) cover





4.01 | 47 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Angry hands that articulate fiery guitar riffs and solos and intrepid bass lines, keyboard textures and layers that seem to come from the guts of a desperate soul lost in limbo, and ultra-virile drumming that combines the frenzy of the darkest psychodelia and the classy touch of avant-garde jazz - these are the ingredients that make NeBeLNeST one of the most notable prog acts of our times. Their debut album stated the rules very clearly from day one: these guys not only are proficient musicians, but also intend to explore the darkest and harshest side of prog by following the path of KC (from both the delirious Red-era and their heavier current works), the spacey odysseys of Ozric Tentacles and the massive dissonances and anti-melodic deconstructions of RIO. There's also some free jazz challenges here and there, delivered in robust fashion. The material comprised in their eponymous debut album consists mostly on jam-oriented compositions, that is, not based on clearly crafted melody lines and harmonic elaborations, but on the sonic exploration of chord sequences headlong into climaxes, explosions, increasing amounts of visceral tension. The repertoire is immaculately even in quality and intensity, managing to keep the same level of tension, either inherently or explicitly. The fluid sequence of the first three tracks is an exhibition of sheer punch; other highlights are 'Etude de Shimshot' (really sinister, not unlike the roughest side of krautrock, although NeBeLNeST definitely has a feel more closely related to their old compatriots of the RIO movement than to krautrock) and 'Crab Nebula' (one of the best rhythm section's performances is contained in this one). Anyway, allow me to remind you something I stated before: there's no waste material in this repertoire. Even 'Solilock', which is perhaps the least complex number in the album, portrays an amazingly exciting flavour of darkness and gloomy intensity, with those oppressive mellotron layers and those flaming lead guitar phrases. 'Absinthe' is mostly the result of the joining of two different jams: this is when the quartet somewhat diminishes its usual display of sonic power... until the mandatory climax appears in order to provide a shocking end. Or so it seemed until a solemn piano coda brought the start of the real ending, which consists of a Present-esque languid sequence, creepy, albeit not too overwhelming. NeBeLNeST is my favourite French prog band nowadays (a sort of Shylock-meets-Present with an increased sense of energy and a more solidly contemporary attitude), and this album is a hell of a place to start with them.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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