The guys participating in Nazoranai, do not really need much of an introduction. Stephen O’Malley of drone doom overlords Sunn O))), Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi (who acts as the drummer in this case) and the maestro himself, Keiji Haino, collaborate to bring a terrorizing album of experimental free rock fury and improvisation.
The free rock form of Nazoranai give a certain fluidity in the manner with which their music evolves and progresses. The way in which the opening song twists and turns through its eighteen minutes is truly inspiring, and the peak that it hits at its ending is monumental. But that is not their only trick. Nazoranai are able to harness a minimalistic approach when that is needed, as they do in “Will Not Follow Your Hoax…,” with the band still being able to retain the listener’s interest as their music is progressing. Still, there are a few surprises here, as is the rockier vibe of the closing track and “Who Is Making the Time Rot…,” which seems to have no regards for progression, offering one of the most intense moments of the album.
What really aids this aspect of the band is Ambarchi’s drumming. This guy is able to make every pattern sounding interesting and enticing, with his repetitive concepts and their constant additions adding greatly to the music. The rhythm itself has a tribal-esque feeling, for instance about seven minutes in the opening song. Different methods of playing further increase the variation with the more steady beat at the start of “Will Not Follow Your Hoax…” and the utter chaos of “Who Is Making the Time Rot” standing out. But it is the closing track where the drums really shine. From the simple rhythmic patterns which are creating an ever evolving chaos, and the inclusion of tom hits at regular intervals making things even more confusing, to the addition of tribal drums about nine minutes in the song adding an extra texture to the music, the performance is amazing.
On top of all that you get Haino’s guitar giving its best all over this album. From great solos, as is the case with the excruciating part about two minutes in the opening song and in an even more extreme form in “Who Is Making The Time Rot,” Haino is just tempering with our sanity. Great phrases are found throughout the album, with the ones about three minutes in “Will Not Follow Your Hoax…,” stealing the spotlight, adding to the ambient sound of the band in that instance. Still, it is when things get more experimental that the true extent of the creativity of the band is revealed. Especially in the closing track of the album, the extent to which Haino is going, shuffling through different sounds for his guitar is intriguing, while the constant buildup of “Will Not Follow Your Hoax…” really nails it for Nazoranai.
As you would expect from these three musicians, their new opus is twisting the rules and bending your mind in the process. The approach of the band from twelve minutes onwards in the opening song really showcases that side of them, while their improvisation in the beginning of “Who Is Making the Time Rot…” will cause your brain to melt down. Nazoranai’s use of effects further enhances that side of the band; with the long delays three minutes in the opening song creating never ending loops of chaos. While when the effects become more prevalent, as is the case about nine minutes in “Will Not Follow Your Hoax…,” they create captivating soundscapes. While the presence of ambient parts, for example halfway through the closing track, provide additional sonic textures to Nazoranai’s music.
On top of all that, there are some moments in the album where Haino is providing vocals. From the abstract vocals of the opening track to the completely extreme screams of “Who Is Making the Time Rot,” his performance here is very strong. Especially in the title track when the big vocals come in with an almost delirious aura to them, they absolutely do what is needed for the album.
Nazoranai’s album is an experience that any experimental music fan should go through. The circling, enticing nature of the album and the ingenuity of these three musicians will not leave you anything less than overwhelmed.
7.7 / 10
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