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Ni - Fol Na​ï​s review

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Band: Ni
Album: Fol Na​ï​s
Release date: December 2023

01. Zerkon
02. Dagonet
03. Brusquet
04. Berdic
05. Chicot
06. Rigoletto
07. Triboulet - Part 1
08. Triboulet - Part 2
09. Triboulet - Part 3
10. Cathelot

If I had to associate the jester with a metal genre, aside from the obvious In Flames possibility, it would still be avant-garde metal. The other genres don't really let themselves be silly in the same way. At least not silly enough to have not one, but two jesters in a very precarious position.

Avant-garde metal is still a bit of a large umbrella term that often encompasses sounds that wouldn't normally fall under the same genre. But within a void you can have some idea of what one would sound like if all you know about an album is that it's avant-garde. There are some tropes that have been made pretty common and that you can be sure it would likely tick off. Intricate songwriting, often relying on uncommon time signatures or disharmonies, a dash of dramatic theatricality, sometimes in the form of operatic vocals, and a dash of unusual combinations with other genres. Well, Ni here work almost exclusively with the first of these tropes.

To this sense, it is a pretty simple album to assess. Even if there is a lot in common with other avant-garde metal acts like Mr. Bungle or Zu, it's also quite clear by the fact that the names I chose to namedrop are also bands that aren't really metal as much as using metal or often being heavy enough to be close to metal; that Ni also falls within this category. Rather than choosing specifically metal bands, it feels much more accurate to add either avant-prog acts like the 70s era of King Crimson or zeuhl acts like Magma or brutal prog acts like Ruins. The DNA of making complex rock music can trace itself through all these names and movements, and that's something that Ni inherit.

However there's a reason why Ni are featured on our website while some of the names I mentioned are not. The riffing itself can feel at times too muscular and distorted to deny its metalness. The tones and chugs can evoke djent more than the aforementioned acts do. Though mostly instrumental, the only moments that deviate from the instrumental-only approach include screams. The electronica injected mathcore points to another metal-adjacent space that's often featured here, thus making Fol Na​ï​s feel like a heavy and labyrinthine maze of inherited sounds that also fall within the heavy and labyrinthine. But despite what the cover art might suggest, it doesn't feel as silly as a lot of avant-garde metal can be. But it more than makes up for it in how the flow allows some dynamic range of sounds, often featuring some sections that are mellower and more straigh-forward, to make the nearly 50-minute runtime pass by easier than expected.

That said, anyone knows where I can get a shrubbery? Asking for a friend.

Written on 09.12.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 19 users
13.12.2023 - 09:50

Great discovery! The French sure are full of surprises.

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