Album: Nemesis Pt. 1 – EP
Imagine the manifestation of your most horrifying night terrors come to life. Imagine them winding into a serpent, ominously undulating as it climbs along your spine and perches on your shoulders. Your legs are locked, moving only to tremble. Your arms and hands are petrified from terror. Slowly, it ascends from your shoulder to your temple, resting for a moment before it invades your ear. Ever horror your subconscious has ever crafted is now very real—writhing into your mind like a parasite. There is no subtlety as it devours your brain, digesting your mind. This is your truest and most fearsome foe. This is Nemesis, and they have infected your sanity with their debut EP, Nemesis Pt. 1, a crushing and ruthless onslaught of ominous, unforgiving downtempo deathcore. Deep drums, filthy guitar and even more gruesome vocals define what is sure to be one of this years heaviest and most horrendous testaments to the integrity of downtempo since Traitors’ The Hate Campaign.
Nemesis waste no time with frills or flashy gimmicks—they are straight-to-the-point punishment that goes for the listener’s throat from the first second. Nemesis Pt. 1 is built on an unshakable foundation formed by deep, throbbing drums and grisly, thick bass that settles like concrete in the listener’s head. “Filth” and “Sinister” are especially strong examples—where drums and bass serve as an acrid, abysmal low-end for guitarist Eron Heath to work from, dominating the mix with chugs from a guitar that sounds as if it was strung with fallen telephone wires. An aural melting pot between Traitors and Black Tongue’s early material, Heath’s fretwork follows the paradigm set by Nemesis’ nasty drumming and bass work: low, slow and lethal. “Vicious” and “Sinister” see Heath at his most furious, closing out the EP with earnest, honest-to-God heaviness that floods the listener’s head like molten lead, solidifying and making it impossible for them to move or resist.
Nemesis don’t let up in any aspect at any time during their debut EP—which means that the vocal element is just as abrasive and aggressive as their instrumentation. Frontman Jesse Merlino brings this to life, roaring every syllable on Nemesis Pt. 1 with an absolutely fearsome growl that rarely pulls out of a grisly, gurgly tone. Merlino, while monotonous, provides vocals to the EP that are just as belligerent and relentless as the music he shouts over. While some listeners may tire of his incessant, incredibly low growl, the truth is that Nemesis Pt. 1 is a devilishly heavy release that has practically no room for high screams and only sparse space for mid-range yells. In this aspect, Merlino excels at his art, given the canvas he is provided, letting loose with gutwrenching roars and barks that make each breakdown, slam and groove just that much more absurd.
Between a demonic vocal approach and an instrumental dynamic meatier than a slaughterhouse, Nemesis Pt. 1 is pure heaviness, a release not for the faint of heart, ultimately saved from failure by its length. Given the nature of Nemesis’ nonstop attack on the listener, the four-tracks-and-an-intro runtime saves the EP from being, at best, monotonous—at worst, lackluster and boring. The brief runtime keeps the songs flowing and keeps the listener’s pulse pumping and fists flying. Moments like the over-the-top breakdown that ends “Filth” or the catchy vocal patterns in “Drained” show promise for Nemesis to expand outside of a style defined by simplistic instrumentation—giving listeners a great reason to keep an eye on the band’s future efforts. For now, however, Nemesis are a band flirting with the perilous pitfall of monotonous, creating a release that is among 2015’s heaviest hitters, even if it doesn’t do much else.
For fans of: Black Tongue, Traitors, Bodysnatcher, REX.
By: Connor Welsh