Reviewed: May 2018
Released: 2018, APF Records
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Vocals can make or break music. Here I’m sorry to say, it’s very much the latter.
Instrumentally, I was into Nomad right from the get-go. Opening track “Curse of the Sun” begins with some rumbling atmospherics, adds an infectious tribal rhythm in the drums, rises with growling, menacing guitars, it all works wonderfully to suck the listener in right away. But then the vocals kick in, and I find myself scrunching up my face and recoiling like I just got a whiff of something foul. It’s that distinct kind of faux tough guy yelling which does absolutely nothing for me, lacking any kind of impact or apparent talent.
So it goes with the whole of the album: the best parts are always when the vocals are absent. Every time, I’m getting so into the instrumental work, grooving and banging along, only for it to be spoilt by the vocals lurching back in like a particularly obnoxious drunk who just refuses to leave you alone at a bar. Musically, Nomad are going for a sludgey fusion of doom and hardcore, putting the listener in mind of bands like Crowbar or Eyehategod or perhaps Melvins. Vocals-aside, it’s good stuff, aggressive but with a nice stoner fuzz to it all. “Culture of Ruin” has a superb riff at its core, and really brings the doom side to the fore. Other tracks like “Feral”, “Swarm” and “Feed” may employ slightly faster tempos, but always have that thick, grimy beat at the core.
It’s such a shame the album is so blighted with the poor vocals. If this were purely an instrumental album, I’d probably give it a 4/5. As it is, I don’t think I’ll be listening to any more Nomad unless I read news of a vocalist change.
Drian Nash – Vocals
Lewis Atkinson – Guitar
John Carberry – Bass
Hayley McIntyre – Drums