(Doom - Blackgaze - Post Metal )
I Love discovering debut albums, and hearing something new and refreshing within that often unpolished state. Adelaide's Nautilus have arrived on the scene and have dropped a debut release that's adorned with various metal styles that interweave and then fuse together in a mass of heavy melancholic soundscapes and soaring swells of optimism.
Nautilus is a 3-piece instrumental metal band from Adelaide, Australia and their self-titled debut album poked my curiosity the moment I heard it. I love finding new music and I get even more excited when I feel the need to reach out to the band and ask if they would like me to review their album! The Smashing Skull Sessions' ethos of showcasing new and exciting metal music from every corner of the globe rings loud and clear when I hear bands like Nautilus. Up and coming bands, and especially debut releases need all the help they can get especially in these crazy times of throw-away music, and where streaming doesn’t allow albums to breathe and develop.
The band is comprised of Yuqi Liu on guitars, Jordan Kane on drums and Leonardo Orlandi on bass. They blend elements of "post-rock", "doom-metal" and even lashings of "black-metal" to create these epic and emotional soundscapes that consume and engross the listener. So, let me get straight into it, and try my best to convey the emotions and the intensity that's strewn across this debut album.
The opening track, Longing for Nautilus has a sombre tone that hangs by soft dense strings with some delicious tremolo guitar work that heightens the mood with every chord plucked. The passage of music is melodic, harmonious, and carefully ushers you into a safe and contemplative place, a lush grass-covered meadow, where the melody grows like wildflowers around your ankles with its bright subtle harmonics. Halfway through the track some distorted and heavy riffs bond with crashing hi-hats and cymbals delivering a post metal crescendo that's ignites a lead solo which is mirrored by a rich bass line and a steadfast rhythm guitar. This recipe ebbs and flows, delivering some old school riffs reminiscent of early Black Sabbath before that lead guitar rises once more with its soaring melody which embraces the listener and grasps tightly until the track retreats one final time with more gentle transient strings, finally releasing you from its grip.
The second track Sun Epithet momentarily lulls you into a false sense of security as it opens with more serene chords and a gorgeous hook, that are soon devoured by resounding guitars that somehow manage to maintain that initial melody and hook but injecting it with a steroid that delivers an instant surge of firepower. The tempo-changes are a plenty here, as the track meanders through various cadences and compositions, all the time mesmerising with that lead guitar that whitewashes everything with its unfading laments.
The Cave Is Where I Found You is another slab of melodically inspired "post-rock" that hits the spot. It’s melancholically driven, however its sombre undertones never overwhelm or cast a shadow over the music. There are enough uplifting crescendos scattered through the track to keep the vibes optimistic and buoyant. The same can be said for To The Mountain We Ascend, which is aptly named, and has all the energy and power needed to see you reach that near impossible summit, standing there in awe, as blast beats pound and echo across the snow-covered mountain ranges below. It’s a track that not only sounds immense, but it also has the ability to visually transport you to that towering mountain top.
As I listen to this album, I'm drawn to bands like Audiolepsia and We Were Heading North for the catchy melodies and grand lead guitars, then bands like Nordsind for the hypnotizing black gazed fury that breaks through on occasion. In The Distance, I Hear Them is a track that perfectly blends all the above and leads you into the final track of the album.
The Sunken Forest has an almost D-Beat gallop to it as it builds in energy and power right from the get-go. However, the air soon turns menacing and heavy as the doom descends on the album and plods its path in a mid-tempo canter before a "black-metal" fury lays siege one final time, turning the canter into a high speed, thrash - inspired chase. The track closes with a gentle and patient guitar piece and brings this very impressive debut album to a close.
Nautilus are a band who have done incredibly well in combining various metal styles and making it flow and sound tight and taught. The formula has worked well, and I’m sure the guys will take more risks on future releases, but for now this self-titled album has raised their profile, and rightly so. I look forward to watching these guys grow and develop their sound and see where this journey brings them. Enjoy!