Nomad – The Mountain (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 8th March 2023
Rating: 7 / 10

Hailing from Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada, Nomad is a four-piece outfit that have been woodshedding their material while solidifying the ideal lineup over the years. They’ve been able to perform at the Armstrong Festival during 2016-19 as well as play on bills with Kataklysm, Origin, Soulfly, and Alestorm – setting the stage for this debut full-length The Mountain. Listeners can expect diversity in approach with a meld of groovy death meets modern and semi-progressive influences in terms of hooks and heaviness across these nine tracks – a balancing act that has mixed results.

The slower, alternative melodies and ethereal clean to distortion shifts during “Revolution” make this an easy standout – specific riffs possessing that Crowbar meets Devildriver crunch, the sadistic raspy scream-oriented vocals contrasting against the semi-growls while the early bass play gives off that Maiden-esque progressive touch. Lower register effects set the stage for “A Lonely Wanderer” where the guitar team of Matt Johnstone and Jeff Mabb batten down the main chord duties as if applying a sledgehammer to your cranium, the mid-tempo pacing aligning favorably for those into Sepultura or Lamb of God. Towards the end of the record the quartet extend arrangements into longer eight-minute plus territory, the syncopation/circular musical movements sure to elicit hair windmills as “Blood Moon” contains numerous mood twists, heavy to serene and back again – while “Choke” contains savage, versatile drum chops, a thoughtful lead break and venomous, measured growls/screams to punctuate key verse/chorus sequences.

Almost clocking in at an hour, The Mountain has certain appeal for those who love the aggression of modern, progressive groove-oriented metal – this scribe just questions the ‘death’ tag amidst it all. Nomad possess some great qualities, now it’s more about defining where they wish to go creatively and tightening up some of the loose ends as far as their weaknesses (certain riffs fall flatter than others, or vocal sequences that wear out their welcome quickly). An adequate first offering to launch from as they gain more live shows and seasoning.

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