Nemophila – The Initial Impulse (Masterworks Publishers Inc)Monday, 13th November 2023
Gaining traction over the course of two full-length albums (with a third, Evolve, just announced for early 2024), Nemophila have been one of the more prominent names within the Japanese metal/rock scene. With Saki on guitar (ex-Mary’s Blood, Amahiru), it certainly helped to give the band a jump-start, but with their ability to play into some heavy/aggressive material as well as more melodic and catchy has very much added to their ability to make a name for themselves. As a quick drop-in point leading to a new album, The Initial Impulse showcases something different for the band – a selection of cover tracks that helped for form the band’s sound. In other words, a great point to ensnare some new fans before their upcoming release.
With four songs, it’s a quick way to get acquainted with Nemophila (particularly for those who may not have discovered them initially on their first, short US run earlier this year) and hear what they are all about. First up is Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” and while it’s played the most straight-up of the four covers, it’s plenty of fun amped up with a more modern guitar thickness and Mayu’s unique vocal delivery, which seems to champion both a gruff aggression while maintaining a certain elegance and poignancy. System of a Down’s “Sugar” is given an extra dose of playfulness to the original to these ears, with the rolling basslines of Haraguchi-san and Mayu’s quick vocal switch ups sure to elicit a smile as you groove along. Slipknot’s “(sic)” moves pretty straight-forward ahead, but again, the meaty guitar tone of Saki and Hazuki helps provide some oomph alongside some of Mayu’s most aggressive vocals on the release. Rounding things out is a cover of “Stuck” from Limp Bizkit, which certainly stands out from the songs before it with the rapped vocal lines, along with some guests (Nobuya and N∀oki of Rottengraffty) but it serves as a nice range of how far the band can stretch themselves and still sound like Nemophila. If you grab a physical copy of The Initial Impulse, you are treated to a new song (which will be on Evolve, in case you miss it here) in “OSKR.” It’s a full-throttle track from the band, leaning on the heavy-yet-approachable side that “Rise” latched onto earlier this year – merging some frenetic riffing and tempos with a thrilling and hook-based chorus (not to mention the ripper of a guitar solo). Just like “Rise” and “Night Flight,” it provides a ton of promise for Evolve next year.
If you haven’t checked out Nemophila, a covers release such as The Initial Impulse is a great way to hear some big songs done with a fresh coat of Nemo paint applied to them. “Rise” is also a fantastic modern rock/metal anthem if you want something original to compare to, but there’s no wrong way to get invested into Nemophila as they continue to ascend to greater, more deserving heights.