Review: “Slower” by Neker

Originally a solo project of bassist and vocalist Neker who founded the project in 2015, he met guitarist Alessandro Eusebi and drummer Daniele Alessi before recording debut album “Louder“ with them in 2016-2017, something which led to European and even Canadian tours. Neker describes himself as someone with no important messages to spread but being instead someone who is expressing his feelings while looking for new sounds built upon a fondness for ninenty’s music. Taking inspiration from the likes of Phil Anselmo, Crowbar and Every Time I Die, the intention with “Slower“, he claims, is to deliver a record of slow, dark and heavy riffs, combining tight and violent songs with melodic ambient ones.

Produced by NEKER and Riccardo Pasini (Ephel Duel, Sentence, BeerBog), who also mixed and mastered at Studio 73 following recording sessions at Zeta Factory and Studio 73, slower opens with a beast of a slow burn introduction in “Nosferatu” which sees those Down and Crowbar influences very much in plain sight. The huge Sludge Metal riffs are accompanied by eerie samples in foreign tongues that could very well be from the 1979 vampire film directed by Werner Herzog. The bone crushing bass tone is one that has been purposefully kept heavy in the mix and when NEKER’s caustic vocals come into play in “Like There’s No Tomorrow“, they’re the perfect accompaniment. The track is a classic Sludge Metal bruiser that only breaks from tradition for Eusebi to rip through a solo; easy to raise a beer to and scream along to with that slow headbang; there certainly won’t be many for whom the lyrics won’t resonate. “Too Fierce” and “Another One” also bring vibes similar to Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach’s project Seemless, a kind of heavy end Blues Metal touch as clean vocals come into play from the Italian frontman, while not straying too far from the path. The riffs are indeed slower and darker, like a crushing weight upon your very soul and if you didn’t know it this could have been forged in the furnace of New Orleans because all those classic hallmarks are there.

What separates NEKER from the pack is longer running songs that allow the band to develop each of their ideas fully in the same way more Progressive Metal bands to; the trio aren’t afraid to keep something going if they want to and bring in another riff or drum fill or verse and the lack of a formula here plays to the bands strengths because these are songs you can really feel. There is a grit and integrity as well as the crushing intensity and should Kirk Windstein ever hear a cut like “Pretty F***ing Far From Ok“; then there is no doubt that he’d have an ear to ear grin listening to the music that he helped inspire. Then there is the Pulp Fiction sample. The other thing that is done really well on “Slower” is not having the trapping slab after slab of similar sounding cuts; something which is done with clever change ups vocally and nuances within each one that bring something special to the table. “The Birth Of Pain” is an absolute black hole sized monster that climbs from the Southern Swamps like a behemoth and destroys everything in its path with the density of its crushing, high gauge riffs. There is more experimentation in the final three cuts; mournful touches of “Laura Palmer’s Theme“, which includes samples from Twin Peaks as well as a bloodcurdling scream over a haunting instrumental before the Grunge feel of “The World I Waiting For” are both intriguing offerings but the stunning “Deception of The Guardian” is an unstoppable bludgeoning force with some Metallic Hardcore crossover that needs to be heard. A real powerhouse cut with some added oomph thanks to some guitar squeals that raise the hair on the back of your neck  [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Nosferatu
  2. Like There’s No Tomorrow
  3. Too Fierce
  4. Another One
  5. A Kind Of Pain
  6. Something From Nowhere
  7. Pretty F***ing Far From Ok
  8. The Birth Of Pain
  9. Laura Palmer’s Theme
  10. The World I’m Writing For
  11. Deception Of The Guardian

Slower” by Neker is out 18th June via Time To Kill Records

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