Founded in 2013 by Ryan Peters with Semir Ozerkan, who immigrated to the US from Istanbul, Turkey to pursue career opportunities in Metal, one being with Oceans of Slumber, Texan outfit Nahaya is something of an amalgamation of American melodic Groove Thrash, Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal sounds and Middle Eastern influences. Featuring in their ranks members of Oceans of Slumber, Vesperian Sorrow, ex-Kingdom Collapse, Painting The Massacre and Cerebral Desecration, “Vital Alchemy” is the bands third offering and follows two well-received EPs in 2018’s “Transcendence” and 2020’s “Transcendence PT II“. They have sought to make a name for themselves independently and between their other commitments have still managed over 50 shows year-round in Texas and neighboring states, including Austin’s SXSW festival while also becoming national finalists in the 2019 incarnation of the Wacken Metal Battle USA competition.
Being mastered by Jamie King (Between the Buried and Me, Scale the Summit) as well has having such a stellar line up of musicians means there is a certain weight of expectation with each Nahaya release and rightly so. The flamenco guitar instrumental of “Madness of Maenads” serves as a white wash to cleanse the mind of all thought before the record really beings with the catatonic rager that is “Deific Mask“. Put simply it’s like listening to “Alaska” era Between The Buried AndMe on steroids, which gallops through with a certain sense of black majesty with thunderous percussion, Power Metal inspired leads and barbed hooks for days. Going forward forward from there, title track “Vital Alchemy” adds fleeting moments of Eastern promise and clean sung parts to the urgent, rocket fuelled Melodic Death Metal rhythms, while “Incubator” brings some slide guitar and mournful lament to splice into the raging aggressive riffs. There is even an achingly clean sung passage over blast beats for s***s and giggles before a huge melodic solo of a cut which could easily be twice as long without detracting from it. How do you even begin to contemplate that? There is no fat on the material on show here, nothing excessive or that wouldn’t be missed if was left on the cutting room floor, the talented have not given into mindless self indulgence. “Kali Yuga” is an absolute rampage, driven by an unbelievable drumming performance while incorporating some 80s Traditional Metal nostalgia to add festival crowd sing or chant along moments and by the time “Aghori Fires“, sonically the band have begun to sound like Nekrogoblikon, minus the synths. Three times a charm for Nahaya because this right here is an absolute pleasure [8/10]
Madness of Maenads
“Vital Alchemy” by Nahaya is out 21st May 2021 via Rockshots Records