Review: “The Harmer and the Fool” by Nvmeral

For all the issues that it caused there were a few good things to come of the time we lovingly refer to as The Great Plague years. One of those things was the formation Nvmeral, who gathered in 2020 and spent the next 18 months or so in hiding, creating their sound with mutual influences from the likes of Alexisonfire and Thrice. The five piece were no strangers to the process with vocalist Ricky Taylor, drummer Dean Harris, bassist Tim Lucas and guitarist duo Varun Arthur and Chris Jones being a collection of seasoned musicians who in their past lives have shared stages with the likes of Deaf Havana, Tesseract and He Is Legend. The Oxford residents found their home in Progressive Post-Hardcore and in the summer of 2022 they began to share the first of their sonic creations as well as a striking cover of “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush

Whether its the quality of the musicianship or the distinctive nature of the vision that Nvmeral have for their sound, unlike most debut EPs “The Harmer and the Fool” doesn’t sound like a band behaving like a new born deer trying to find their feet. Instead it has a verve and swagger to it, the work of musicians are confident in their own abilities and don’t need to second guess. Blending raw and emotive vocals from both Taylor and Jones “Far Enough Away” feels like the band put ripped a hole in the space time continuum and pulled through it a classic early 2000’s Emo meets Post-Hardcore tune. It’s so good that if it had been written then, Nvmeral would be playing Brixton Academy and touring the Globe on a regular basis. The bass from Lucus sounds huge and the drums ride the groove, the riffs being heavy enough to satisfy while offering a little chaos and a Metal edge. Eclectic and a little eccentric, despite some of the bleaker qualities of the lyrics its sonically heart warming and you’ll want to sing-a-long as the ache resonates. Further showcasing the quality of their musicianship, the opening passage of “The Fear That Kept Me Quiet” has a rich melody that gives it a shimmering quality before transcending into a crushingly heavy part accompanied by some nasty uncleans in a violent mood swing. Having the vision to create something that moves in and out of the heavier side cleanly is one thing and being able to carry it off is quite another, however this five piece have what it takes and end up with something that sounds incredible.

Front loaded with grit and integrity, “SOL” is a personal cut with an introspective lyrical narrative about being in a dark place and finding coping mechanisms, that will resonate with anyone who has been through troubled times. Skilfully avoiding sounding woe is me, instead this one balances the positive and the negative on a knife edge, offering hope where others find none. An earworm riff and stunning melodic leads help that cause, as does the sheer passion and energy locked up within the confines of the recording; you can hear the bands live energy threatening to burst out from the frame. One of those songs that could easily have another title with the lyric “It’s always me vs me!” at its heart, “Parry” offers up something a little more groove centric as it paints the white to grey with the lyrical flow. A melancholic meandering with a progressive atmosphere that remains direct with a genuine post-hardcore intensity, it’s another stunning piece. A reflection on the overwhelming feelings of guilt, regret and fear that often come with anxiety and depression “The Process Of Burning” feels like a natural conclusion to this collection of tunes to help you breathe more easily. You can picture the crowd singing these words with their phone lights waving at a festival, such is the quality of the song writing, musicianship and the lyrics. Like Oliver said… please sir, can we have some more? [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Far Enough Away
  2. The Fear That Kept Me Quiet
  3. SOL
  4. Parry
  5. The Process Of Burning

The Harmer and the Fool” by Nvmeral is out 27th October 2023

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