The first thing you may notice about Nihil Admirari, an alternative rock band based in Brooklyn, NY, is that they don’t have a bass guitar player in their lineup. The second thing that comes to your attention, is that Noshi (Vocals), Vabo (Guitar, Backing Vocals) and Mike V. (Drums) come from three different parts of the world – namely, the US, Japan and The Bahamas. The third, and most immediately evident element, for any listener finding this band, is that Nihil Admirari truly and utterly kick ass in an explosion of theatrical voices, unhinged, over-driven guitars, and volatile smashing percussion. Technically superb, this creative trio literally throw subtlety and softness out of the window on their EP called “New – EP”. They trade in powerful emotion and dynamic musical imagery going straight for the gut.
And even when Nihil Admirari take the sonics down a couple of notches, on the jangly closer, “Follow Me”, there is a visceral murkiness, building in the song’s underbelly, which eventually comes to the fore: “Slept with knives, I / I slept with knives under my head / Hoping soundly I would leave / Someday. But who are you standing behind me / Tell me again how the tides of the magnet moon / Pull at my strength / And follow me.” Mysteriously cryptic, and intensely poetic, the band build their narratives, on both experience and perception.
The Ep opens with the thrusting rocker, “Gone”. It mixes the loud primal rawness of garage rock, and the sophisticated structures and harmonies of a progressive rock band. With lines like: “You’re a piece of shit and I can’t believe it / In the time it takes to know you I’m already lost,” Nihil Admirari waste no time in getting their message across.
Grinding and dirty, Mike V beats the hell out of the skins, while Noshi’s vocals soar way into the heavens. “Sadie” gets even harsher, with metal and industrial motifs invading the rhythms. The growling vocals do the rest, in creating an ominous and menacing song.
Technically, “Mr. Wizard” is the most impressive track on the EP. Tight start-stop rhythms, ever-changing tones, and variegated vocal and instrumental runs, all come together to forge a typical progressive rock backdrop with a metal, punk and fusion twist.
Just one listen to a song like this, is proof enough that Nihil Admirari have come to take us to rock nirvana, a place last visited in . . . well, it’s been so long I can’t even remember when last, rock has been this raw, hard and grimy. This track will grab you from the very first note, through some fancy guitar chicanery from Vabo.
Nihil Admirari’s “New – EP” is not a good record. It seems like one for the first two songs, but then you get to the third song, and this is when you realize that “New – EP” is, in fact, a remarkably good record, quite possibly a great record.
And certainly, by the time you listen to the slow-burning fourth and final track, “Follow Me”, the deeper enchantment of “New – EP”, erupts from its core to convince you that this is indeed a superbly innovative, alt-rock record!