THE DEMO CORNER
It seems like once or twice a year I stumble across a self-released album that blows me away. These rare albums are typically better than lots of stuff that signed bands release. As I discovered recently, Nephelium's Coils of Entropy is one such album.
Apparently Nephelium initially formed in Dubai sometime in 2001, but has since begun anew in Toronto. The band plays semi-technical brutal death metal that draws from classic bands like Cannibal Corpse, Nile, and Morbid Angel with touches of newer groups such as Decapitated and Beneath the Massacre. Nephelium's songs are loaded with tons of changes and plenty of impressive musicianship, but there's also an abundance of catchy parts to latch onto. Nephelium's blend of both brutality and melody helps to achieve this. The songs on Coils of Entropy last anywhere from five to ten minutes in duration, but to call them "epics" would a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, Nephelium's songs will have no problem holding listeners' attention. These are solid, well-written tunes that always have something interesting happening.
The strength of the songs on Coils of Entropy is due in no small part to the performances of each individual member. Nephelium is one strong band through and through; everyone pulls his weight. While the vocals may not be terribly original, they are certainly varied and effective. Most of the time they are standard issue low gutturals, but higher vocals crop up throughout the album. "Halls of Judgement" features even more variation with some angry warthog squeals and some higher blackened croaks. The different vocal styles all mesh well with the music except for some totally batshit John Tardy-style vocals that come out of nowhere in "Malediction." To top it all off, these insane vocals are followed up with an old-school Tom Araya scream. While very brief, this moment in "Malediction" sticks out so much that it's actually distracting. Otherwise, the vocals on Coils of Entropy are a perfect fit. Further adding to the strength of the album, the semi-technical guitar work has plenty of excellent finger-tangling riffs that are sure to keep the listener interested. There are also numerous wild shredding leads in songs like "Merciless Annihilation" and "Malediction." At times these solos have an exotic Nile-like feel such as the ones heard in "Burial Ground" and the title track. In addition to the six-strings, the bassist shows his skills when appropriate via some awesome fills throughout the album, especially in "Malediction." Thankfully, the bass on Coils of Entropy is usually clearly audible due to the solid production. Laying down the foundation and probably the highlight of the album is the superb drumming. The drums are extremely varied and always very "active." The fact that the drums move around so much yet have no problem holding the songs together is truly impressive.
Each of the members of Nephelium blend their different talents and influences in such a way that the group doesn't sound like any one specific band. This gives Nephelium a somewhat unique sound, even if it isn't always a totally seamless blend. Nephelium has a few rough edges that need polish, but there really isn't much to complain about. Coils of Entropy is an extremely solid album and is all the more impressive because it is a self-released CD from a little-known band. The fact that Nephelium is releasing something this strong before it is even signed puts the band way ahead of plenty of groups out there today.
You can listen to Coils of Entropy for free on Nephelium's Bandcamp page (click on the bandcamp logo to the left above). If you like what you hear, buy the album and show your support. Coils of Entropy proves that Nephelium is an up-and-coming band to watch. I know I'll be glad to hear more from these guys soon.
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1. Burial Ground
2. Merciless Annihilation
5. Halls of Judgement
6. Coils of Entropy
Total playing time: 41:19
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Label: Band Self Released
Nephelium - Coils of Entropy
July 5, 2012