Fissure of Riddles – Nemea
Release Date – 20th January 2018
Label – Independent
Dropping earlier this year, Nemea is the debut full length album from Weymouth based outfit Fissure of Riddles. Clocking in at just under an hour, across it’s 9 tracks Nemea weaves between progressive metal, heavy sludgy sounds and some Black Metal elements. The album mostly pulls this off pretty well, succeeding in creating a large sounding backdrop befitting the mythological subject matter that permeates the songs. According to Ancient Greek legend Nemea was where Heracles slew the Nemean Lion, funny that. Plus there are references to Dragon Flensing so it’s probably a safe bet to say the band are at least somewhat influenced by myths and legends.
Glacial Retention is the opener which gets things off to a slow feedback heavy start. It is quite drone like to begin with, adopting a fairly minimal approach as guitar notes glide over what could possibly be the sound of prayer gongs. The vocals sound a bit like Throat singing and there are no drums to speak of until about 3:45 in when a Tom heavy beat is thrown in. This drum style, relatively slow but with a lot of rolls and accented Tom sounds is a recurrent motif across the album, though particularly noticeable in the last two songs E.D.O.S and Hauling, where it almost becomes the focal point.
After the relatively mellow introductory song Ignorance is Blessed is a heavier affair with some more traditionally metal vocals and decent riffs, though at times things felt a bit jarring as the song transitions between sections. Flensing the Dragon is the sprawling behemoth on the album, over 12 minutes long and with a fair range of changes to keep things from getting staid. It goes from a looming sludge riff accompanied by sparse cymbals to a faster more concentrated guitar part with some good hoarse vocals. This is set against the addition of a creepy almost spoken vocal line which varies things a bit. There are also sections recalling the intro song, with the feel of spectral notes against harmonic guitar bits. The changes work on this song and keep it moving along nicely.
Elsewhere Paleozoic again picks up on the swirling meditative feel of earlier songs whilst incorporating a buzz-like riff. There is a Doom metal feel generated at times, with some screeching Black Metal vocals dropped in for good measure. Grid your Lions is the shortest track, which has the tinge of psych metal running through it, here as elsewhere long reverb heavy notes are allowed to ring out. The percussion changes up on this song too, sounding more like tablas than a kit.
Across this album there are some really good things going on and a couple of songs manage to bring this melding of styles together extremely well. Some of the tracks felt as if they got a little bogged down, with quite long sections which could perhaps have been a little shorter. However, this is outweighed by the fact that Fissure of Riddles have managed to put together a broad, varied album that explores some interesting musical divergences and contrasting moods.
Recommended Track – Flensing the Dragon
Rating – 7/10