`Hailing originally from Dubai, Nephelium moved to Canada before forming a solid line-up and producing their first full length Coils Of Entropy. This album harkens back to the earlier days of brutal Death Metal, both in sound and form. There are obvious inspirations from Death, and the likes of Spawn Of Possession, Jungle Rot, and older Vader albums.
Nephelium is Devlin Anderson on vocals, Alex Zubair and James Sawyer on guitars, Flo Ravet on bass, and Alan Madhavan on drums.
The first thing you’ll notice for sure is the production. In this day and age, everything’s produced to the point that a band’s first album can sound pitch perfect. Nephelium throws all that out and opts for a classic more natural sound. I’m a bit of a nitpick when it comes to production, I have a hard time listening to earlier death metal albums because the production is so bad. It might have something to do with the fact that we’re a bit spoiled today, but regardless these guys have a natural production sound, that isn’t terribly mixed and actually sounds good altogether. On top of the old school brutal death inspired sound, the band also seems to be influenced a little bit by grindcore, which can be heard in the faster portions of the album.
The vocals for the most part are gutturals with these faster spat out higher portions that are nice complements to the vast amount of gutturals. I’m reminded a lot of Dave Matrise from Jungle Rot’s raw guttural style. It’s really good stuff! “Malediction” has a few crazier sections of vocals, one short part where Devlin makes this crazed growling sound, that’s a little unexplainable in text, but for some reason makes me think that’s what Arnold Schwarzenegger might sound like if he did death metal vocals. There’s also this high pitch scream that bellows out into a low growl that’s pretty notable.
There are also some really solid riffs and a really good solo on the track “Merciless Annihilation”, this crazed laughter pops in and then the solo starts. It’s the best part of the song in my opinion and one of the highlights of the album. Brutal death metal and technical death metal can often blur the lines between each other and definitely share similarities. These guys shift into more technical stuff here and there which is pretty good (I have a bit of an affinity for tech death.) “Malediction” has two of the best solo’s on the whole album, if not the best. They are more tech inspired and act as a good climax in the middle and end of the song. The first solo sounds like something straight off of a Fleshgod Apocalypse album too.
Alan’s drumming is one of the most impressive parts of the album. There’s plenty of really solid blast beats and some complicated rhythms to be found here. The drums are arguably more tech death than anything, but regardless they work really well. The opening track has some really sick drum patterns, and establishes from the get go that you need to pay attention to the drums on this album, they aren’t just there to be a backbone, they push everything forward and keep you pumped. The drums, like the rest of the album have a more natural tone to them, and aren’t overly produced.
One notable thing is that the band didn’t use triggers while recording the drums, which is pretty darn impressive (in case you don’t know triggers are used to equalize the bass drum tones to get a more consistent sound when blasting or using double bass in general, they make everything sound a little better, but some people consider it to be ‘cheating’ in some way) I do feel though that they occasionally get drowned out, some of the cymbals in particular, all throughout, and the set as a whole almost seems to get quieter under the guitar solos, but that’s not a huge issue for me seeing as they shine more in the other portions of each song.
Overall, Nephelium have put together a very solid debut, it’s not perfect, but they’ve definitely shown that they’ve got talent. I personally would like to see what they’d do with a more “˜produced’ sounding album, somewhere along the lines of Obscura’s production quality, but that might just be me. Anyways, check out Coils Of Entropy, it’s well worth your time.