Monday, March 11, 2013

Review: Neferion - The Primordial Mode

Neferion have a long career history which is plagued with many gaps that make it nearly impossible to create a bridge to link their previous endeavors together. It is stated that the band, hailing from Tampere, Finland, formed sometime in 1994; however, their debut demo, Promise, only showed up in 2000. The gothic/heavy metal group also released two more demos, one in 2001 and the other in 2002, followed by an EP in 2005. It's unsure if the band broke up during the long time frames between releases or how many line-up changes they may have undergone in the meantime. After a long hiatus, Neferion finally unleashed a recent demo in 2012 entitled The Primordial Mode. Does this demo help to reunite the name of Neferion with audiences?

Genre: Gothic/Heavy Metal
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: 2012
  1. Nightingale
  2. Daunting
  3. Argo
  4. Force Within
Total Playtime: 14 minutes, 50 seconds





Rating: 5.5/10





Neferion have a long career history which is plagued with many gaps that make it nearly impossible to create a bridge to link their previous endeavors together. It is stated that the band, hailing from Tampere, Finland, formed sometime in 1994; however, their debut demo, Promise, only showed up in 2000. The gothic/heavy metal group also released two more demos, one in 2001 and the other in 2002, followed by an EP in 2005. It's unsure if the band broke up during the long time frames between releases or how many line-up changes they may have undergone in the meantime. After a long hiatus, Neferion finally unleashed a recent demo in 2012 entitled The Primordial Mode. Does this demo help to reunite the name of Neferion with audiences?

Without beating around the bush, so to speak, The Primordial Mode has a well encompassing generic feel to it that touches on a collection of musical styles. "Nightingale", "Daunting" and "Force Within" have semi-melodic death metal properties which come off somewhat Arch Enemy inspired, minus the clean vocal sections that are included throughout the entire content of the demo. For the most part, aside from the drums, the instruments provide your standard death metal grooves. When the guitars are a furious frenzy of electrified riffs the female vocals tag along with harsh death metal growls, and when the occasional melodic ring-out chorus segments come into play they find themselves accompanied by harmonious, clean vocals; all the while being backed by blast beats and double bass drumming that come with a large array of skillful rolls and hi-hat hits which accent the background. "Argo" is a venture into heavy metal inspiration, at this point the vocals take on more of a growling talk tone with semi-operatics thrown in for zest. The guitars take their turns between palm muted chords and regular power chord riffs, surprisingly mixing it up a bit with a short but sweet solo. The drums during this time provide an ample supply of spicy patterns which stay away from blast beats, unlike the previous two songs, and instead incorporate aggressive, unique rhythms that catch the listener's ear more so than the rest of the instruments.


The audio quality on this demo is crisp and the mixing is as perfect as it can get. The vocal track is on top of the guitars and at no point do they devour the instruments; the bass sits at a decently audible level right under the two guitars and the drums stay in the background while they provide a dynamic atmosphere that engagingly drives the content forward. The drums and vocals both find themselves to be the most potent ingredients on this material, both are incredibly powerful and harness acknowledgeable skill as well as refined talent. Sadly, it is the guitars that cause this release to feel standard and generic, especially during "Force Within", bringing little to offer to the table in the way of creating unique riff structures that would help make the band stand out as a whole. There is undoubtedly a lot of genre mixing going on here, and while the vocals make their transition between styles just as the drums find new patterns to work with, the guitars find themselves sticking with the same tone and distortion throughout; perhaps experimenting with different techniques, effects and distortion from track to track could help the guitars become less monotonous in the future.

The Primordial Mode shows the compelling potential of Neferion's vocalist and drummer, and while both of the guitarists have skill, it is their composition writing that needs to be toned and strengthened. Most casual listeners tend to tune into the vocals first, the guitars second and then the drums; without attention grabbing riffs or unique song structures from the guitars, the content really falters despite the strength of the rest of the members and disappointingly lumps the release into the generic zone. Neither shunned nor recommended, if you wish to give this demo a listen you can catch it on Neferion's official Soundcloud page.

Physical Copy Provided by: Neferion

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