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Najand - Battle For Emancipation review




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Reviewer:
3.5

16 users:
3.31
Band: Najand
Album: Battle For Emancipation
Release date: January 2023


01. The Revolution Timespan (Doreye Enghelabi)
02. The Fire Of Revolution (Atashe Enghelab)
03. Lost Under The Ruins (Gomshode Zire Viraneha)
04. The Silent Army (Lashgare Khamoosh)
05. A Riffle Made Of Bullets Of Truth (Mosalsali Az Kheshabe Haghayegh)
06. The Glass Should Be Broken (Shishe Ra Bayad Shekast)
07. Blazing September (Mehre Atashin)
08. It's End Of The Road (Akhare Khatte)
09. December Fury (Khashme Azarin)
10. The Siren Of Death (Nafire Marg)
11. Speak Out (Sokhan Begoo)
12. The Flight Of Screams (Parvaze Faryadha)
13. The Giant Prison (Zendane Bozorg)
14. The Arrest Warrant (Ehzarie Be Zendan)
15. Indefinite Detention (Bazdashtgahe Abadi)
16. Flames Of A Cry (Sholehaye Boghz)
17. Reactionary System (Dastgahe Erteja)
18. Shine Of The Light (Derakhshanie Noor)
19. Silent Sobbing (Boghze Forookhorde)
20. In Battle With The Oppression (Dar Jange Ba Setam)
21. Reactionary Order (Monasebate Erteja)
22. Strike, Protest, Regional Riot (Etesab, Tazahorat, Shooreshe Mahallat)
23. Pursuant Democracy, The People's Councils (Democracy e Peygir, Shorahaye Mardomi)
24. The Committee Of Death (Heyate Marg)
25. The Rock Of Death (Sakhreye Marg)
26. Battle For Emancipation Of Masses (Nabarde Rahayie Toodeha)
27. Third Of The Four Rebels (Sevoming Nafar Az Chahar Shooreshgar)


A couple of days ago, an esteemed colleague of mine said when reviewing the latest Rye album that “lot of where my gripes lie with Всё lie within the production”. Here’s a solution for you, Radu; give a few minutes of Najand’s latest album a blast, and suddenly Всё will sound absolutely fine to your ears.

It came up in recent conversation on the site that most of the reviews we host on the site are skewed towards the positive end of the feedback spectrum, which is an inevitable consequence of us being purely voluntary reviewers and therefore prioritizing what free time we have for Metal Storm to the purposes of promoting music we feel deserves it. However, there is merit to discussing less accomplished music in order to more fully appreciate what the best albums do right, and to that end I’ve set myself the challenge this year to spend a bit more time discussing albums that haven’t impressed me (which I’m sure is a great way to make friends in the metal community). The question then is: how do you go about intentionally choosing albums to write negatively about?

Now, it could be very mean-spirited to take an album from an underground solo musician who clearly doesn’t have unfettered access to elite recording set-ups and go out of one's way to critique it, particularly one that comes from a region that, as I touched upon in my Ryth review, isn’t the most conducive to making metal. As such, when I first saw that Najand was from Iran, I felt it necessary to give a lot of leeway to the production; however, from what I can see, the one man behind the band Sam Yazdian has relocated to Canada, in which case, it might be fruitful to try and achieve some kind of upgrade in production values, because the sound of Battle For Emancipation is lo-fi even when compared to something like Transilvanian Hunger.

The issues with the production lie not just with the inherent rawness, but also the mixing, which varies significantly between individual tracks, and which also struggles to make all instruments heard; the vocals in particular have a habit of drowning out the guitars. It’s a combination that makes the album immediately something of a challenge to engage with, and those issues are only compounded by the hefty 69-minute runtime of Battle For Emancipation. There are times when it's less distracting; the most blackened songs here are unsurprisingly those most suited for such a raw sound (“The Committee Of Death” and “Shine Of The Light” are decent examples of this), while the non-distorted sounds come through comparatively cleanly, such as on the dungeon synth cut “Battle For Emancipation Of The Masses”.

It would nice to be able to say that this is a rough diamond of a record undermined by a lack of production resources, but unfortunately the amateur nature of the production is echoed in the music. The 69 minutes of Battle For Emancipation are comprised of a whopping 27 songs, and there’s quite a bit of stylistic variety across those tracks, with the knock-on effect that not only the production but the music feels inconsistent and haphazard across the runtime. Within the first few songs, you jump from thrash, to black, to sludge, and even to more trad heavy sounds, with little time spent in each new setting before moving onto the next one, and certain styles suffer far more from the lo-fi production than others.

It's a difficult task to spread oneself so wide stylistically and consistently deliver strong songs, and unfortunately the majority of the tracks featured here are lacking in this regard. There are some nice elements to be heard on and off through the album, including the flashy solo in “The Revolution Timespan”, the bass melodies in “The Silent Army”, and a decent couple of riffs in “Reactionary System”. Also, I can appreciate the flirtations with cleaner sounds such as acoustic guitars and piano on occasional songs, as well as the dabblings with spoken word and choirs. However, the reality is that most songs feature rudimentary riffs for the given style that they’re dabbling in, and the short length of most of them means that there’s very little opportunity to take the core of a song into a more interesting direction before it’s over. Additionally, in the very rare attempts at taking a song longer, most notably on the 6 minutes of “The Flight Of Screams”, what attempts there are at shifting gears don’t come naturally, with some changes within songs as sudden as those between neighbouring tracks.

Battle For Emancipation is but the latest of many records released under the Najand name across nearly 20 years, so one can only assume that Yazdian is firmly committed to their current approach to music creation, whether due to practical necessity or genuine preference. However, even if it is not viable to obtain a more polished sound, there are some fundamentals that future records would benefit from tackling, including consistency in production across a tracklist, greater stability in style, and writing fewer but more deliberately crafted songs. As it is, Battle For Emancipation is borderline unlistenable, let alone at $16 per digital copy.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 4
Songwriting: 3
Originality: 3
Production: 2





Written on 04.01.2023 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 15   Visited by: 111 users
04.01.2023 - 22:07
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Всё sounds absolutely fine to my ears.

Hey if you want some actually good recent Iranian based music, check out Eternal Candle's latest.
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Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?
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05.01.2023 - 09:28
Rating: 3
24emd

I keep waiting for "Lost Under the Ruins" to launch into perfect production after the first repeats of the intro (Like just a lo-fi intro). The very start of this song is actually not bad.
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"Perception and fact, all the same: the truth's what you feel..."

Unpopular opinions is my middle name.
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05.01.2023 - 12:27
nikarg
Mod
This is embarrassingly bad. Kudos for listening to the entire thing. I turned it off after a couple of minutes (and I thought I gave it a lot of my time).
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06.01.2023 - 01:23
MarlKarx

Those vocals sure are...something
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07.01.2023 - 04:19
Hey guys. Apparently It is the roasting season so lets have some metal fun.
So I give some review on the review...
The review starts with 2 random unrelated paragraphs on how he has cooked his last night's dinner and which one is better in soccer. the Manchester or Juventus. After some masturbation he talks about the album for 4.5 genuine paragraphs. (Which I'm thankful)

There exist some contradictions here. While he says the album is "hefty" or basically long (to use the fact it can be boring by default just because it is one hour long) at the same time he is criticizing why it changes its genre and tunes so often and why is there a variety of melodies that he feels inconsistency between individual tracks! It means at the same time he uses the point/fact that it is a long album, he also criticizes its music varies significantly from trash metal to black. Like, dude! How else one hour could be passed better?!
However, as an hour and 27 tracks long album, there isn't a single moment to waste your time for sake of trying to make it longer deliberately. Something which he has not pointed out at all in the review... There exist hours and hours of boring ambient albums just to fill the time... Which this album isn't one of them and every second is used decently.
The reviewer changes his position a couple of times. Throwing "it's low quality" is safe just because it's a home studio record anyway.

There is another hilarious point, he has heard acoustic guitars on this album and he likes it as a compliment lol
"I can appreciate the flirtations with cleaner sounds such as acoustic guitars and piano on occasional songs" This album doesn't have no acoustic guitar and if you listen to it, there is no confusion about that. I asked it some other non-musician friend and they were not confused neither if there exists ac guitar or not on this album.

While he has been personally nice to me to write a review against this album, he tries to undermine metal from the middle east just as a group... "particularly one that comes from a region that, as I touched upon in my Ryth review, isn’t the most conducive to making metal"... He is saying it in fancy words the geographical region is not good to create metal! Wow! How logical!
The mindset doesn't need any further discussion on how narrow-minded, if not racist, it is:
To put the ppl from the middle east in a group of potato bag and decide how are they in general... It's like saying I don't like Americans, for example Dostoevsky and Nelson Mandela... (if you can find any connection between them!)

What kind of review has a side comment about 2 other random bands?! )
Ryth and Rye? Did it come by alphabetical order or because they are from Bahrain and Russia which are geographically neighbors to Iran? Somebody who is calling the masterpiece "amateur"!

His ass has had "leeway" and pity on me from an above situation and I should be thankful for that:
"As such, when I first saw that Najand was from Iran, I felt it necessary to give a lot of leeway to the production" [but then he learns I am now living in Canada]
Keep your pathetic leeway for your nobody-self dude, nobody needs you to have pity on them because they are from any hell.

And anything if it was applied to Iran, is still the same cause I still work in home studio at 3 o clock in the morning anyway.
So yea It is correct that I wont make that boring generic sound that you are looking for. If you wanted to say it on the other side, you would say "wow, how dynamic this album is" and calling it a good thing! Its really hard nearly impossible older ppl get into any new music.

The album is one hour long and Its 27 tracks. And still he says "there is merit to discussing less accomplished music in order to more fully appreciate what the best albums do right" (His intention to review my master-not-piece is to highlight other good pieces of music in the world!! Like in real world anybody would ever notice his nobody-ass judgements in the first place! And the pieces of music that have to be appreciated are things like Guns and Roses and pop rock that he likes! Be happy with that!)

Don't get me wrong, I'm just playing with you back... And everything is fine. Still I'm thankful that you've spent some minutes!
But it is funny some blinded encourager (nikarg dude) which is a staff/moderator of the website gets so influenced by the review coming around saying "This is embarrassingly bad. Kudos for listening to the entire thing. I turned it off after a couple of minutes (and I thought I gave it a lot of my time)"...
No kiddo, beside your worthless time you have got the idea in the wrong way. You were supposed to listen to it all so you know why is it bad or hilarious!! That's the whole point of teasing reviews!
And if you were smart enough you would realize its a game and you should have your own opinion instead of being flatterer to your friend without listening to the "thing" !
Yea obviously it's ok for metalheads to talk so frankly, sincerely, direct and criticize... Because it makes more listeners and interested ppl... But when your admin/staff is so smart to come around just to announce "he has NOT listened to the album" ) what kind of idiot announces that he has not paid the time to listen to the album and still he spits out some shit about it?

I evaluate the review was generally a working teasing tool and it is good. Regarding the album being in Farsi language, he couldn't have really much more material in hands to talk about (Except the song titles)
So thank you anyway.
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07.01.2023 - 09:49
Rating: 3
musclassia

Written by Najand_Hatred on 07.01.2023 at 04:19

Hey guys.


Hello! I did wonder whether you might find this. Thank you for your response, and for your critique of my review; I certainly can't begrudge you the opportunity to do so given the overall picture I've painted of your album. I did notice a couple of points within your comment that I would like to reply to.

"There exist some contradictions here. While he says the album is "hefty" or basically long (to use the fact it can be boring by default just because it is one hour long) at the same time he is criticizing why it changes its genre and tunes so often and why is there a variety of melodies that he feels inconsistency between individual tracks! It means at the same time he uses the point/fact that it is a long album, he also criticizes its music varies significantly from trash metal to black. Like, dude! How else one hour could be passed better?!
However, as an hour and 27 tracks long album, there isn't a single moment to waste your time for sake of trying to make it longer deliberately. Something which he has not pointed out at all in the review... There exist hours and hours of boring ambient albums just to fill the time... Which this album isn't one of them and every second is used decently.
The reviewer changes his position a couple of times. Throwing "it's low quality" is safe just because it's a home studio record anyway."


There is no contradiction here. It's a fairly common opinion to have that if an album length is on the higher end of the range that most albums fall into (35-75 minutes), then the expectations of the contents of the album to justify that length are higher, otherwise such records do have a tendency to drag before they are over. In the case of Battle For Emancipation, 69 minutes is a very long album, so if there are songs within that do not engage the listener, or if the general experience of listening to the album is unpleasant in some way, the experience one is going to have after sitting through 69 minutes of such a record is, for many people, going to be more negative than sitting through a 15-minute EP comprised of a reduced selection of songs from said album.

You seem to be saying here that because there are varied melodies and changes in styles between songs, then it is automatically exciting because there is variety; variety is not automatically a positive, if the content fulfilling said variety is not enjoyable, and in the case here, the 27 songs are almost uniformally unenjoyable. Longer songs is not a question of ambience (there is a plethora of prog bands that write songs close to or exceeding 10 minutes with no ambience), but if you gave me the choice between 3 songs that last for a combined total of 5 minutes, all of which feel underdeveloped and which go nowhere, or a single 5-minute song with satisfying progressions enjoyable riffs, I will choose the latter. You say because the album is so long, there isn't a single moment to waste making it longer deliberately; the ideal thing to do would not to be to make the 27 songs all longer, but to choose the best 8-12 of them and make those songs more enjoyable.

My position never changes - I do not enjoy this album. I do not enjoy it because the mix varies significantly between tracks so that no consistency in sound is created, because the extremely lo-fi nature of it makes it a challenge sometimes to even hear the guitars, let alone enjoy them, because listening to a record with these in-built issues for 69 minutes is an ordeal in and of itself, and because those 69 minutes are made harder by the songs themselves having very few moments that makes one think 'I like this moment'.




"While he has been personally nice to me to write a review against this album, he tries to undermine metal from the middle east just as a group... "particularly one that comes from a region that, as I touched upon in my Ryth review, isn’t the most conducive to making metal"... He is saying it in fancy words the geographical region is not good to create metal! Wow! How logical!
The mindset doesn't need any further discussion on how narrow-minded, if not racist, it is:
To put the ppl from the middle east in a group of potato bag and decide how are they in general... It's like saying I don't like Americans, for example Dostoevsky and Nelson Mandela... (if you can find any connection between them!)"


The region that I was referring to specifically with 'not the most conducive to making metal' is your country Iran. Perhaps it is a misguided western interpretation of the situation in Iran for such music, but when one hears stories of bands being jailed for being in a metal band, one gets the impression that there might be significant challenges in trying to book a recording studio and going in to record such music. I know with Confess that the alleged blasphemic content of their music probably had influence over the charges they received, but your own music is clearly politically motivated; you describe your lyrics as 'revolutionary and socialism-advocating' on your Bandcamp. I imagine revolutionary lyrics might not be well received by the Iranian government either, given the response to the current protests within the country. That's why I assumed that a move to Canada, a country where numerous metal bands have been able to make metal music without being arrested, might have made the process easier; however, if your move has not had any impact on your music-making accessibility, then you can happily ignore that section of the review.

As for why I would consider giving the 'leeway' that you say I should disregard, I assumed that if one had to make the music you were making in secret to avoid a police crackdown, then you may have had limited places in which one could do it, and that those limited places may have had limited recording capabilities, which could explain the production level on the record; I don't think it's unreasonable to note that most protest media are typically made with less resources than media made by the cultural establishment or supported by the government, hence why documentaries like Winter On Fire and The Square aren't as polished as, say, The Revenant. As you say, you are using a home studio; the music of the band that I'm in so far has been recorded at one of the members' homes, and the sound quality of that music is clearly below what one would get if we went to a professional studio. However, the production on Battle For Emancipation is one of the rawest and muffled that I've heard on any metal album, and it is a pretty huge barrier that gets in the way of enjoying the record.

You have well over a dozen EPs and full-length records on your Bandcamp, so it is very clear that you enjoy making music. If you make the music purely for your own personal enjoyment and satisfaction without any care of how other people receive it, then I fully respect that, although I might question the benefits of sharing it publicly in that case. If you do hope for people that aren't yourself to enjoy it, however, then Battle For Emancipation is not the way to go about it, as I can think of very few records that I've found as few positive things to say about as I have with this one. The production quality is a huge obstacle for anyone except lo-fi fetishists, and if you could find a way to take even minor steps towards something with slightly more clarity, then it could make a huge difference, but the songwriting is also something that I did not enjoy, and from the reactions of most people here (as harsh as they are, which was and is something I am trying to avoid in my review and comments; I do respect the challenges of making music as a solo artist, and I am trying to be respectful while making these comments), I'm not alone with that.



Take what you want from this; at the end of the day, if you don't care what other people think, then that is your prerogative and you can feel free to continue with the same songwriting and producing approach as you currently have, but you might also want to consider not reading what other people think of your music, because I have sincere doubts that the vast majority of opinions will notably deviate from my own. If you do have some interest in seeing people's opinions of your music grow more favourable, the things I've mentioned are things that I believe would be beneficial to take into consideration.
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07.01.2023 - 15:41
nikarg
Mod
Written by Najand_Hatred on 07.01.2023 at 04:19

Hey guys. Apparently It is the roasting season so lets have some metal fun.

There was no roasting, and what you wrote is not really funny; just an incoherent rant. No one attacked you personally, everything that has been said was about your music. You should be thankful that someone actually took the time to listen and write about an album as bad as this, and also be so kind about it. Because this is a very kind review, and you should take into consideration the points of criticism in it, if you ever want to produce something listenable in the future.

In any case, if you decide to comment here again, make sure you refrain from insulting other people and calling them names.
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08.01.2023 - 23:37
Rating: 3
Boxcar Willy
yr a kook
Spent more time on that comment than he did on the album.
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14:22 - Marcel Hubregtse
I do your mum
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09.01.2023 - 05:07
Well, I didnt want to mention it but now it adds to the fun: for the audience knowledge Metal Storm Radio on my 2011 album Complicated Antitheses, was playing the album (which was their generosity) with a terrible technical issue... Back then I yelled at them... That is why I should be roasted on here!

I knew when I reply you, you are gonna throw I've insulted you or something anyway (nikarg) ... While I've mentioned 3 times that everything is cool and I'm just playing with you back, and the review is good enough for what is its intention.
You are burnt because I pointed out ppl dont feel necessity to mention they have NOT listened to the album, and you are a staff, that is a deadly mistake.
So dont use boring predictable cards pls (insult and those childish cards)
Anyway

I came back to mention one thing. Soon (if not already) the AI can make all that generic studio sound that you are looking for. So for later generations THIS (Najand) is gonna be the subject of study which comes from handcraft, NOT that boring generic studio sound that you are praising.
Ofc I dont mean go release something you havent spent enough time to create it. And if you listen to the album it is a serious project. One way to prove it, it is that it doesnt have 12 minutes long repetitive tracks, instead it has 27 tracks that alone shows how much the album has been worked on. Inevitably there is hundred of melodies and you cant be bored, and nothing has been done with shortcut and time-filling techniques... (like Nirvana leaving 20 minutes empty silent track and thinking it is so dark and cool!)
Cheers!
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10.01.2023 - 09:53
RazMan

Had to check this out because of the interesting comment thread. Not going to comment on the actual music here, but I really don't understand the production. You could literally do better with a smartphone and audacity without any mixing at all except aligning the instrument tracks and setting the volumes for them.
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10.01.2023 - 12:26
SamuelYK

I love this thread, please go on
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11.01.2023 - 14:44
Nejde
Philosoraptor
Najand_Hatred has got to be a troll account. I can't imagine the actual musician creating an account calling himself that just to rant worse than a Karen about a bad review given. And if it's actually him he's completely delusional.
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"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
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11.01.2023 - 15:54
Rating: 3
musclassia

Written by Nejde on 11.01.2023 at 14:44

Najand_Hatred has got to be a troll account. I can't imagine the actual musician creating an account calling himself that just to rant worse than a Karen about a bad review given. And if it's actually him he's completely delusional.


I doubt it's a troll account, and I think we can afford to offer some slack; I didn't exactly shower praise in my review, and I have no issues with an artist retorting to such a strongly negative article as mine. I'm reassured that most people share my opinion on the record, and I either don't understand (I have no idea about anything related to Metal Storm Radio and it did nothing to influence me listening to or reviewing this record) or am fundamentally misaligned (the whole production topic) on the points Najand is raising, but I'm hoping we can all remain civil in this thread
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12.01.2023 - 07:49
Nejde
Philosoraptor
Honestly I've never heard of Metal Storm Radio and I've been a member since 2010. And as a musician, if you release your music to the public, you just have to be able to accept a bad review, being compared to other bands and getting negative critique. Otherwise keep your music to yourself.
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"You have the right to believe in what you want. I have the right to believe it's ridiculous." - Ricky Gervais
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22.01.2023 - 07:20
Rating: 3
RoyBoy432

Thank you for this review for starting what proved to be an interesting conversation.

I don't think it's the worst music I've ever heard, but I also don't think it's good. The first thing it reminded me of was the Children of Bodom demo "Implosion Of Heaven" that they released under the band name Inearthed. That record was similarly difficult for me to sit through, but it was mercifully much shorter.

The different genres and different sound mixing on each track that Musclassica pointed out is not enjoyable to me either. I think would prefer a more consistent black metal sound from a raw record like this.

The comments from the Najand_Hatred account are bizarre.
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