REVIEW: Lies of Nazca – Aleph [2014]


Artist: Lies of Nazca

Album: Aleph


Glimmering, just out of reach—just far enough to seem beyond even the most abstract comprehension—lies a star. This star, though it shines just as steadily and occupies the same amount of space as every other star in the atmospheric mosaic that is the midnight sky, seems brighter than the others. It shines boldly, with a confidence uncharacteristic of the other celestial bodies surrounding the spec of dust we call earth. This star is to our night sky what Aleph is to technical and atmospheric metalcore—a remarkable, boisterous—yet looming example of unattainable majesty. Lies of Nazca paint a brilliant, punctual portrait of musical mastery using broad, spanning riffs as their brushstrokes and punishing, crushing breakdowns to fill in the space. Indeed, these Italian innovators of heavy and inventive metalcore are at atmospheric and harmonious as space itself, but as dense and destructive as a black hole.

Like most things, Aleph begins as a thought—a lingering finger hovered over the “play” button. However, as soon as it starts, it cannot be stopped. Lies of Nazca take the listener on an immense, sprawling journey through djent-tinted instrumentation and punishing, deviant heaviness that sets an example for every band to ever tune down an octave or add a string to their instrument. Aleph’s construction begins with the riffs—which compose an inordinate amount of Lies of Nazca’s remarkable intensity. Jumping from groovy and grotesque to technical and glimmering faster than the listener can blink, the fretwork throughout the album is absolutely stellar. “Cosmogonal Grounds” is one such example of this—as the first minute of the song alone blows right from crushing heaviness to soothing, subtle atmosphere, while adding in bits and pieces of the single catchiest riff the genre has ever seen. However, just as the band forays into moments of hyperatmospheric drift and serenity, they are prone to snap back out of it—“Cosmogonal Grounds” and “Perisapsis New Form” are keen examples of this. As twinkly, ethereal moments rapidly regain speed into fret-driven bounce and groove that will have the listener’s head bobbing so hard they may just break their neck.

While the fretwork soars throughout the stratosphere, the percussion remains earthy and punchy, and the bass guitar remains meaty and rumbling. “Periapsis New Form” is a keen example of this—as the guitars roam wherever the universe lets them, the beefy, thick kick drum and resonating, splashy cymbals keep the track’s feet firmly planted in the earth’s crust. This firmament-like divide between the fretwork and the percussion is nothing short of masterful. Even as the elements diverge—heading off in completely opposite directions—the song remains cohesive and together. Truly, Lies of Nazca keep every moment of Aleph immersive and deep, gluing the listener’s ears and attention firmly to the speakers. This is the strongest thing Lies of Nazca bring to Aleph—an element many of their peers lack: cohesiveness. While countless other “djent” and progressive metalcore bands sound like ten or twelve copy and pasted “glimmering” riffs with speedy drumming, Aleph is a diverse, comprehensive, yet consistent display of metalcore mastery—even if, at times, the band does find themselves depending heavily on the soft-heavy dynamic that they have clearly worked so hard to perfect.

Throughout Aleph, the instrumentation runs rampant—with punchy, leveling percussion running amok on the earth’s surface, and shreddy, soulful riffs lighting the skies ablaze with passion and punishing heaviness alike—it seems hard to understand how Lies of Nazca remain focused. This is the job of the vocal work throughout the album—which, while as varied as the instrumentation, manages to provide a constant to keep the album traveling in one direction through both time and space. There isn’t truly one track that displays the shrill high screams and brilliant bellows of Aleph better than another—for every track that the vocals grace with their presence features the same level of pernicious mastery. In keeping with the rest of the album’s theme, Aleph’s vocal aspect is remarkably consistent—or, as consistent as it is diverse, which can only truly be understood once the listener takes the plunge into the great beyond and gives Lies of Nazca a chance.

Reaching with fingers stretched, arms strained towards the sky, the listener begs—pleads—for the ability to reach through the chasm of time and space to embrace Lies of Nazca’s debut release, Aleph. However, try as they might, Lies of Nazca are beyond grasp—of both the listener, and their contemporaries. With catchy, gilded riffs and punishing, earth-devouring heaviness alike, Aleph is an astral journey which finds itself rarely retracing its own footsteps in search of greater glory.



For Fans Of: Northlane, Dissonance in Design, Erra, Volumes

By: Connor Welsh