Nangilima. A death/doom band with members from Sweden, Bulgaria and Spain finally released their debut album. I discovered these guys when they released their first single called Thanatos, I loved it and hoped the band would build upon that for their full album. Now it's time to see if they did just that.
There is a short answer for this. Do you want it? Of course you do. The short answer is no, and now we take a look into why that is. Let's begin with the line-up because there's been some changes on that front. On the Thanatos single, Nangilima consisted of Emilio on vocals and C.L. was handling all instruments. That's changed in the likes of C.L. being replaced by Nikolay Velev on guitar, bass and keys. And then Khalvst who's doing programming and keys as well.
The Dark Matter is a concept album about a man who finds out that his life is coming to an end. The album then takes you through four seasons ultimately leading to the characters death in the outro. However there was supposed to be another track on the album but it was omitted as the guitar/bassist, Amarok left the band. That track is Fractions of a Shattered Soul and was released as a single only and in my opinion it was not a good decision to omit that track from The Dark Matter. Together with Thanatos, those two tracks reign among their best so far because of the variation they feature both when it comes to the music and vocals.
Negativity aside there's definitely good things to take from this debut album. The drums sounds better than ever and I have to address a special kudos to Khalvst for the amazing keyboard work. Overall the production is without a doubt better than before and that does help the band a lot and move them away from the demo sound. Throughout the album I do however feel there's too much emphasis on the doom element and not enough on the death element that's been tagged into their genre. When I think death/doom bands like Asphyx comes to my mind. Combine that with Nangilima's two first singles and I must admit I did have some expectations for this record and they were not met. It feels like they confined themselves into this little doom metal box and don't want to break out of it - or maybe that's what they wanted to put forth the atmosphere they feel they needed for this concept album. My problem with that is that throughout 42 minutes of listening it's just slow paced all the way and they never rise from the second track, Stains of a Broken Life, which is the best track on the album. The rest of the tracks follows the same path, same recipe, same gear and it doesn't really makes me want to listen to the record again, it simply lacks the really memorable songs.
The album lacks what their two first singles had. The variation in music and vocals. Changing into a higher tempo and changing into more black metal-focused vocals but that's never really present in the same way. After Stains of a Broken Life I think the keyboard is out-doing the other instruments as they simply don't bring the same performance. In spite of all this, I'm going to look forward to their next record anyway. I don't believe they will write the same album twice and I really want to hear more of that fantastic keyboard work. I'd recommend this to the real doom metal doomoholics. If you're missing a doom emphasized album with great atmosphere and hard hits then this is definitely for you. I'd simply wish I was one of them.