Wednesday 5 July 2017

Review: Område – 'Nåde'


Two years after their debut album, post-industrial/post-rock duo Område return with their follow-up, 'Nåde'. Blending diverse and sometimes disparate genre styles including trip hop, ambient, metal, industrial, post-rock, and classical the duo's first outing, 'Edari' was an album full of surprises that confounded any pre-conceived notions. The only real connection between this new album and their first is the track list comprises of eight songs. The rest is an entirely individualistic whole that conforms only to it's own unique vision.

Every track here is hard to pin with so many elements at work, yet it remains quite accessible in it's structuring. It may suddenly veer off into a saxophone solo, or fade into ambient textures, but the experimental tilt of the band is focussed and sharp, everything seems more assured in its use this time round. The result is some incredibly ambitious yet endearingly catchy songs with the likes of 'Malum', 'XII', 'Styrking Leið', and, 'Baldar Jainko' leading the way. But each track here is a master-class of songwriting, channelling a wide scope of styles and influences into something engaging.

The production as well feels more focussed this time. While the debut was pretty good regarding it's mixing and mastering to keep everything from sounding swamped, this time there's an extra power behind things that gives the overall sound a cinematic quality.

Where the last album may have required a few listens to completely get your head round it, 'Nåde' grabs you right from the start. They know when to get loose and crazy and they know when to pull it back. The result is a strong and balanced album that shows off some incredibly ambitious song writing and inspired performances, but also a solid understanding of what makes a fundamentally strong album.

Even if the words “avant garde” fill you with dread, or the thought of metal guitars intertwining with jazz sax solos makes you uneasy, you'd probably still find something on 'Nåde' to get your teeth into. It's another strong outing from a band that should rightly have big things in their future.  

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