Personally speaking, the harder end of music, heavy metal, and all of the subsequent post-this and that-cores that it spawned, is something that I have gradually drifted away from for a period of time. Such music, is very often, wrapped up with the experience of youth. Not a criticsm, just an observation. There is something in the music that hails from such quarters, something in the power and adrenaline, something in the speed and frenzy, the power and the passion, the oft-otherworldliness of the lyrics, the angst and aggression which perhaps speaks to the experience of youth.
That was certainly my experience for a long time. But having let enough time pass, I found yourself being drawn back. Only, this time, I knew what I wanted from such genres, approached with a more discerning ear and can spot the difference between true innovators and those shuffling along at the rear of the pack. What I am saying is that it always takes a good band to bring me back into that world. Thankfully NinémiA is a good band. No, NinémiA is a great band.
Across a series of standout singles, they have constantly raised the benchmarks of heavy music. Their latest release, Psychotropic Plague, is no exception. What makes this, and indeed all of their music, so great, is their ability to make opposites so attractive. The music is simultaniously hard as nails and melodic, often to the point of sweetness. The beats can be relentless but they never lose sight of the groove. Riffs are byzantine but stop well before the point of showboating, serving the song rather than the ego. The vocals switch between the cavernous and the sublime, particularly this time out where they have Alia Fay adding ethereal interludes to balance out the more full on deliveries. A dash of poise to their punch, poignancy to their power.
And, like any band worth their salt, they both move with the times and are happy to jump generic boundaries, here employing turntablism and scratching to add an additional caustic layer to their already raw and sharp-edged sonic landscape, courtesy of DJ Puzzle.
As always, the song is a mini symphony, music which, whilst based in a heavy world of granite hard music, has room to roam, meander, explore and experiment well beyond the usual boarders, skirting classical realms and even ambient pastures. Whilst the through-line of the song shows a logical and cohesive path, like any good symphony, the music tells a story, moves through moods, evokes emotion, ebbs and flows with dynamic light and shade, wanders through brooding lows and hits blistering crescendos. And does all this in its natural stride.
The terms song, track or single hardly seem sufficent to describe what NinémiA does. But then words like symphony, opera and aria seem a tad too pretentious. But somewhere beyond those words, and between those worlds is where the band makes its home. I just need to think of the right word to describe this sweet spot. I’ll have to get back to you on that one.