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Nymphea Aurora - "Promo 2008" (CD)

Nymphea Aurora - "Promo 2008" CD cover image

"Promo 2008" track listing:

1. Never Comes Silence (7:06)
2. Clouded Eyes (8:20)
3. A Touch Of An Angel (10:40)

Reviewed by on June 14, 2010

"The 26 minutes comprising the three tracks take repeated dips into different sub-genres, but never stick around in any one place long enough to create a distinct sound that can separate Nymphea Aurora from the rest of the metal hordes."

Dutch act Nymphea Aurora is one of those bands that is a jack of all trades, but truly a master of none. The group’s third demo is an unrefined mix of many extreme metal styles, mired in an unstable base of slow moving doom. The 26 minutes comprising the three tracks take repeated dips into different sub-genres, but never stick around in any one place long enough to create a distinct sound that can separate Nymphea Aurora from the rest of the metal hordes.

First off, the band must be given credit for having one fairly unique aspect in a metal outfit. There is a lady among the ranks, and surprisingly she is neither the vocalist nor the keyboardist. The lack of female vocals is actually a boon, as the demo probably couldn’t handle having yet another style tossed into the mix. “Never Comes Silence” starts off in a sludgy and slow moving dirge that uses deep death growls to deliver the lyrics of depression and suffering. The vocals clearly follow the guitar work, which means that they are deliberate and well enunciated. With a little work it isn’t hard to follow along and make out the lyrics behind the death screams.

The track doesn’t stay in doom however, as it suddenly erupts into a fast paced black metal style drum beat with a symphonic backing. These are the parts that make the music hardest to follow, as they don’t pull off either style well enough to be compelling, and the production isn’t high enough to give the drum work any real punch. The faster black metal segments don’t have that frozen and unrelenting feel of hatred, and the spots where the keyboard takes the forefront aren’t immersed enough in the horror or occult vibe to pull off symphonic black metal. While the synths do at least create something of an atmosphere, it’s an overall stale atmosphere that doesn’t manage to create any real feeling in the listener.

There are a few times when Nymphea Aurora pulls it together long enough to wow the audience. “Clouded Eyes” has an interesting segment heavy on the ambience, where the bass finally gets a chance to be heard, that features the vocals morphing from a throaty rasp to a massive growl as the music shifts directions. If a few more transitions of that caliber had made it onto the final cut, the demo would have been much more engaging. As it stands the various styles are essentially jumbled together without a chance to mesh properly. Under the right circumstances an eclectic mix of genres creates a progressive sound, but here it comes off more as a mess than as a smooth blend.

Nymphea Aurora has the sound of a band still in transition, from the faint echo of darkwave that is occasionally heard in the keyboards to doom parts that get the repetitive part down but can’t quite nail the mesmerizing aspect. The band hasn’t hit the perfect blend of all their various components, but it feels like they could with the right nudging and a little more effort on a full-length album.

Highs: A few interesting transitions between the various styles.

Lows: There are too many styles present to make an impact or create a unique sound.

Bottom line: An eclectic mix of doom, death, and symphonic black metal that doesn't mesh as well as it could.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)