They say, to slip into my more nerdy, sci-fi mode for a moment, that with great power comes great responsibility. The same can be said about music made at the heavier end of the spectrum. Bands such as NinémiA create their music by wielding great sonic power. Still, the art of blending such incendiary musical elements and volatile vocalisations into something artful and accessible is through responsibility. Or in musical terms, control.
Anyone can blast out heavy, fast, aggressive, complex and wild music. But is it art? Does it resonate? Does it have meaning? Generally not. What sets NinémiA apart from a host of other hard rock and metal bands is their ability to temper their evident skills into something more refined. Yes, there are moments of extreme weight, thunderous beats, intricate riffs and pulsing pace, and vocals that seem to scream out from a primal place. Still, these are, in turn, tempered by more restrained melodics, the ebb and flow of dynamic contouring, subtle and seductive vocals and more downbeat and mellifluous musical passages.
The other thing that sets the band apart is their intelligence. Fool is a classic example of how vital and smart their work is. Not for them talk of wizards and warriors, taking rings to Mordor or dystopian sci-fi irrelevances. Fool is a powerful, real-world historical document, a song discussing the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkish forces.
The artwork for the song is actually in the form of a film poster, and this isn’t just a gimmick, as the video accompanying the song is a rich cinematic experience in its own right. We get 6 minutes of brooding, stop-motion animation to accompany the music, but the most revealing and perhaps poignant aspect of the film comes in a short, 2-minute, post-credit play out. Here, using interview footage lifted from a documentary, we face the realities of such invasions and the actual cost when modern warfare meets the civilian population.
The children being interviewed, talking about their experiences, showing their wounds and talking about their personal loss are timeless voices. Here the children are Cypriot, but they could just as easily be Korean, Vietnamese, Bosnian, Syrian or Ukrainian. It is a stark reminder of the world we live in and that lessons do not get learned when dictators’ wishes, political powerplays, and egos become more important than the lives of everyday people.
Fool is not just a great song; when coupled with the accompanying film, it is a very important one too.