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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Nekrasov - The Ever-Present (2011)

Band: Nekrasov
Country: Melbourne, Australia
Style: Harsh Noise/Dark Ambient
Label: Crucial Blaze

The second full-length from Nekrasov this year, following with his multiple releases in a year pattern, turns out is a double-album. This release, once again, is being released in quite a limited fashion, only 200 this time. I've enjoyed his work recently but for some reason I'm a bit hesitant towards this one.
Let's be clear with this up front, the press notes say very clearly that this is Nekrasov's most focused effort in terms of straight ahead harsh noise yet, it contains very little traces of his past explorations with industrial and black metal sounds. Also, as with his last one, which was a single hour-plus long song these new albums contain extended songs, with the first disc containing two tracks that both just top thirty minutes and the second disc is a single hour-plus track. Now, I have no problem with any of that, I won't deny or hide my interest in the harsh noise genre, some great releases have come out from that genre this year, and even Nekrasov's previous outings with straight ahead noise pieces I've enjoyed. In all honesty, I still enjoy his use of noise, and actually find it a little more varied and interesting than his last album; but it's the idea of him becoming a straight noise artist that maybe I just can't get my head around. Both "Cognition of Splendid Oblivion" and "Extinction" from last year were great black metal records with a lot of noise elements in them, and I guess that's kind of what I want from Nekrasov, some more variation.
Even though this all of these tracks are long and are, I'm simplifying it here, noise, like I said above, I still found it more interesting than "In Solitude and Darkness, The Last Step Is Made," which came out earlier this year. Granted, all of these tracks are still harsh noise tracks which just engulf the listeners, like his last album, I found that the interesting sounds in the background were actually a little more graspable upon a first listen. I'm sure most people will react to this by asking, "Well if there are three tracks, how can you tell them apart if they're just noise?" Surprisingly, it isn't that hard. II is easily the most "aggressive" and brutal of the three, sounding like straight feedback being mixed with tons of distortion. This track is probably the most straightforward in terms of harsh noise, with very little details, in terms of "ambiance," found behind the sound. Despite the first two tracks being shorter, and you probably could've seen this one coming, it's the hour-plus track, III, that is actually the best on here, in my opinion anyway. This track is far and away the least intense and abrasive of the three, taking in some more ambient and industrial elements into the fold and hiding them behind the noise. There are also more variation in terms of aggression, where the music will appear to slow down at points and speed up at others. Having said that though, this track just feels a bit too long, and due to that, it really isn't memorable, which is probably the biggest fault of the record, it really doesn't stick with you besides how long it is and some of the noises. III is definitely the track I'll be coming back to from this release though.
All in all, I still really enjoyed this, I just wish that there was a little more variety amongst the tracks, or shorter tracks. In a sense, this is more accessible than his last album, but if you're looking for a way in, definitely go for his more black metal oriented stuff. Fans of harsh noise, raw industrial music, or power electronics should find this an interesting listen, check it out.
Overall Score: 8.5
Highlights: III

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