Reviewed: Neter – Idols
So you worship at the throne of death metal bands like Decapitated, eh? Rejoice, for now you have Neter. Although the band is unique, listeners here will find something familiar. That’s because Idols sounds like a few of my favourite death metal bands merged into one powerful beast. Unsure as to whether this was a great parallel or a just a reproduction, I cranked a few tracks and left it for a day or two. On second listen, I decided that yes, the similarity is a good thing. Where Vogg and Vitek had a crisp clinical sound going on, Spain’s Neter remove such sterility and slow it down to a thumping, mechanical, engine-like groove that beckons your stomping foot forth. Imagine Origin just kicking back a couple of gears on the riffs and letting the power put a chokehold on the frenzy, and you start to get the picture. The vocals only strengthen the comparisons, and while not exactly extravagant, bear resemblance to some of Rafal and Coven’s delivery and style with a little bit of Jens Kidman (Meshuggah) thrown in for good measure.
Although Neter never really break into warp speed here, Idols hammers along furiously at a fairly consistent upbeat tempo with single-note riffage that never sounds thin. Coupled with the simple yet effective use of tritone harmonies, the riffs have that much needed diabolical edge to them. The bass is fairly prominent throughout and works in a cohesive manner with the beat(ing)s, bridging the gap between drums and guitar well. The lead lines don’t try to sweep you off your feet by any means, but they provide some very welcome trimmings with a diminished and often eerie sound (think Soreption). The intriguing cover art depicts Easter Island’s moai being roped by incensed masses. It would appear that the mass of people are triumphantly tearing down the ancient statues, possibly in an act of supreme defiance. The Polynesian tribe who occupied the island for thousands of years – the Rapa Nui, are hypothesised to have contributed to their own downfall. This was purportedly due to exploitation of the island’s natural resources, primarily deforestation, with overpopulation only exacerbating the environmental issues. In essence, a small scale version of the present. This self-destruction is echoed in the vocals (from what I can gather so far), with the lyrics leaning misanthropic and outraged.
The only complaints I have relate to the aforementioned consistency with others in the growing death metal stable. First, to the casual listener, this album could sound too homogeneous, but if you’re listening to this casually, you’re either doing wrong or you’re dead. I greatly enjoy hearing a band release material that I can safely say will please fans of revered death metal bands, but I still have the feeling that this could have been improved with just some minor tweaking. Second, the guitar leads are fitting and the band clearly has the chops, but just a couple more memorable and distinctive solos could have potentially aided with track differentiation. The final and titular track of the album, “Idols”, shows that a little bit of dynamics goes a long way; if these kinds of transitions were employed more frequently throughout the album, I would have no hesitation in saying this album is a must. As it stands, I think many of you will enjoy Idols as much as I did. This is a quality album from a band that only has one prior release. Give it a couple of spins and see what sticks (to your bowl).