Shadows From The Past
(Oaken Shield / Adipocere Records)
Sometimes, an album cover reveals all about the music inside. Such is the case with "Shadows From The Past". The picture on the cover reminds me a famous Euronymus one (used for a tribute to MAYHEM some years ago). So, without even having heard a single note of NEH╦MAH 's music previously, I assumed the band play a raw and cold form of Black Metal inherited from the Scandinavian scene of the beginning of the 90s, and I was right. In fact, the first track of this release lead me to think that I would hate the album immensely, but fortunately, this first impression vanished after a while. If you see NEH╦MAH 's style as a respectful tribute to such pioneers as BATHORY, MAYHEM or DARK THRONE, this point of view will surely help you to fully taste "Shadows From The Past". On the contrary, if you expect groundbreaking stuff or even a little spark of originality, I guess you should stay away from this, so much NEH╦MAH take great care to not cross the barrier of their musical territory. As usual for this type of release, the production task was a little bit rushed to say the least, but I reckon NEH╦MAH manage to create a bleak and desperate atmosphere with their music. Standout tracks are 'The Thousand Tongues Of Medusa' with nice BATHORY overtones, and 'Sigilum Sanctum Lycanthropia' obviously carefully crafted. On the other hand, the title track is a too simplistic and boring song (based on one riff with almost spoken lyrics) while the "hymn" 'Selvmord' happens to be way too long (almost hitting the 9 minutes mark) with no variation in it, very monotonous stuff indeed! The real surprise of this album is no other than an excellent BATHORY cover, 'Call From The Grave' offered as a hidden track (by the way, the joke consisting of burning 33 tracks on a CD has grown very old!). I realize that I forgot to mention that NEH╦MAH is a French outfit, but they achieve the exploit to sound more Norwegian than the Norwegians themselves. Like I said, a nice effort to recreate a long past era of Black Metal (hence the album title I guess), otherwise a too generic release to be really captivating. Nostalgic of the old Scandinavian "grim and evil" scene must acquire this without too much thinking, this is essential for them. The others should abstain though.