Nahar - The Strange Inconvenience [Avantgarde - 2013]Black/doom act Nahar is back with its third album. The two piece was formed in 2000 by Sorghal, a member of many French black metal bands. I'm not sure how Nahar compares to Sorghal's other bands, but Nahar puts forward a solid black/doom/sludge effort on The Strange Inconvenience.
The six tracks on The Strange Inconvenience seem to be split into two parts: Two sludge tracks with a short instrumental capper followed by two black metal tracks with a short instrumental capper. "Grey Concrete ...Comfort" and "Purifying Negativity" are the first two songs on the album. They both have a cold, sludgy feel. They're slow and dark like the song is in constant breakdown. The vocals are grim and haunting and add quite a bit of atmosphere to the material. "Grey" ends in a pretty solid rock groove that gives way to a reverbed, subway tunnel-esque sound. This leads into "Purifying," where what was started with "Grey" is taken to completion. "Purifying" picks up a bit towards the end and has a semi-death metal feel to it. Both tracks feature really excellent guitar tones and powerful, yet restrained, solos. This first section is capped off with "D.M.T." This instrumental has quality drumbeats with calm guitar and bass playing on top. The drums disappear about halfway through, and the guitars help you to drift into the next set of songs. While "Pessimist" and "An Atavistic Manner" are not full on black metal, they share more with it than the first two songs. They are slow metal songs. They're not quite doomy and not full on sludge. The guitars have more of a black metal feel, and the vocals definitely go along with them. "An Atavistic Manner" flips between medium paced to slow and back again. There are even some synthy bits playing along far in the background. This is a solid, mid-paced black metal jam. "Electric Equinox" is the second instrumental bit and the second half end cap. The bass drum is nice and heavy and works really well with the synth and guitar drone that play over the top. This is a great way to wrap up a quality record.
The Strange Inconvenience is a good sludgy/doomy/black metal album. The songs are interesting if not a tad long. I wish the doom/sludge bits were heavier, but then again, I'm a fat guy and want everyone to feel my pain. This is my first encounter with Nahar and Sorghal, but I would definitely check out Nahar's first two releases.Paul Casey