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ni - Pantophobie CD (album) cover





4.10 | 13 ratings

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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.

TCat | 4/5 |


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