I have to confess that a lot of rock and metal has, of late, left me a bit cold. At one extreme, you have metal bands trying to “out-metal” each other, fighting to be faster, heavier, more beat filled, more aggressive, more…well, just more. At the other, you have alt-rock bands pushing into indie and pop territories. The middle ground, where old-school rock traditions and actual invention collide, seems to have no obvious champion.

Well, now they have, and their name is NinémiA! And if the last single, The Acquired Savant, showed us their place in the generic scheme of things, Dust To Stars reinforces the case. What they seem to do so well is blend various styles and ever-changing dynamics into a fresh and familiar sound. And it is their use of opposites that makes things so attractive.

The music is, at turns, heavy yet melodic, groove-driven but occasionally genuinely graceful. Drama is sometimes subsumed by unexpected delicacies, such as the later passage that wanders into almost ambient realms before exploding into salvos of spiralling guitars and yet, for all the changes and challenges, all the balancing acts of highs and lows, light and shade, it is a sound that remains cohesive and controlled. A lot happens in a NinémiA song, but it remains undeniably the sound of NinémiA.

You can make a strong argument for the more elaborate metal songs, which are more ambitious than just delivering the same old grunt and grind, having much in common with classical music and Dust To Stars is an excellent example. There is something symphonic, not just in its sonic scope and musical scale but in the way that moves through changing moods and motifs, themes and passages, each the natural progression of the song, each dynamically amplifying or underpinning what came before and preparing the way for what comes next.

Some bands write songs. Others make musical statements. And some write modern symphonies. NinémiA does all three. Simultaneously!

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