Nosdrama are a Finnish outfit who fuse together progressive and gothic elements to form a sound they identify as melancholic metal.
It’s a combination that throws out some interesting material, and some mediocre moments. However, I’d like to think that they’re more appealing than not. Gravity is their fourth release, and it’s the first of their albums to be brought to my attention. But I’d be keen to check out their earlier (and future) releases.
Their melancholic sound stems from their wistful vocals and often slow pace; this can be detrimental at times, as it sometimes feels suspiciously similar to uninspired ballad rock. The first song, Lighthouse, was particularly guilty of this, but from a slow start came better things. There are enough atmospheric elements eventually poured in to save you from boredom. In this sense, they have quite a lot in common with Porcupine Tree – ambience plays a central role . They use layers of subtle muted guitars and piano in the title track Gravity to create a musical texture of mystery and intrigue.
There’s also some twists into heavier material, such as the intro to Receiver, which spins out into space rock, led by a whirling 70s keyboard line. An excellent track, with the miasmic presence of Opeth‘s heavy tracks – and the addition of a slight power metal edge and commendable vocals.
However, though they are decent on Receiver, there is no consistency to the vocals. The Curity sees the vocalist performing what sounds like an impersonation of James Hetfield, while Last Steps sees a masterfully understated vocal melody meld (aside from a couple of bad notes) into the music. Something for them to work on in their future releases, but I’d also like to mention the bass line of Last Steps. It’s really pretty cool.
There is some weak material on this album, as I’ve previously mentioned. Wood Castle Dances is the slowest track on the album, and takes five minutes to strum an acoustic guitar and go absolutely nowhere. The final track is also unforgivably weak for an album closer. It’s a soft rock track, which, to be fair, does have some nice touches such as the very fitting bluesy guitar solo. But there’s not much to talk about here, and it significantly lets down the rest of the record.
In their bright moments, Nosdrama show off some really good song writing. Mortal’s Instrument Of Science is a great groove metal and power prog combination, with hints of Symphony X and Tool. Even a little Opeth again with the drums that run into the chorus.
A hit and miss record – but more hit than miss.
Nosdrama should find the time to refine their sound and head in a more prog-oriented direction, because what they offer here in that vein is fantastic.