Sunday 22 April 2018

Review: Nafrat - Abnegation

With their sophomore effort, atmospheric death metal four-piece from Singapore, Nafrat, has taken a positive leap forward and might just be ready for critical acclaim. 

Nafrat was only conceived in 2003 and released their debut full-length album “Through Imminent Visions” in 2007 to generally positive reviews. It was not perfect though, because while atmospherically sound and very catchy, the songs sometimes lacked a killer move to pierce the final hook through the listener. Regardless, Nafrat exhibited great potential on their debut, and on “Abnegation,” the band is already capitalizing on it. They haven’t changed much of anything to be fair, but they have worked out the kinks and because of that, “Abnegation” sounds like a much more complete record that can hang with the big boys of the genre.

The thing with Nafrat is that they aren’t pioneering anything. The minute you start expecting to hear something completely unique your experience will be marred. But when it’s technical and atmospheric death metal piece you are after, look no further, as “Abnegation” is chock-full of addictive, yet complex melodic riffs that will stay in your head for a good while. It’s true that Nafrat play the same cards every time, yet they always manage to win. All the songs on “Abnegation” are exclusively built on gliding riffs that are designed to win the crowd over. And Nafrat do – with “Abnegation” they can even get the pompous music snobs in the back to tap their feet. Guitarists Han Shah and Iskandar Zul then sprinkle some melodic leads and licks over the more chunky main riffs and voila, despite it sounding boringly facile on your screen, Nafrat have a winning recipe.

It’s more than an array of riffs though that makes “Abnegation” so good. The attention to detail is never lost and just when you think you’ve had enough of the same melody/riff, a new dynamic is introduced by the way of a slick lead, drum pattern or a change in pace. In addition to that, “Abnegation” never strays from the lively pace it sets itself with the first full track, titled “Purify Lest Decay.” Pure energy is often times the deciding factor between an album sinking or swimming, andNafrat have plenty of energy in store. 

Nafrat have been honing their craft and even though their shtick is the same, “Abnegation” outperforms its predecessor in every way. It’s more cohesive, the highlights shine brighter, and there is a strong sense of maturity about this record. The band isn’t exactly in line to rock the whole world of metal, but in a done-to-death genre, coming off with something uplifting is already a win in itself. Nafrat have found their flame in burnt-out ashes and said flame should only grow with time.

Stream “Abnegation” on Bandcamp.

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