Despite only having a handful of bands playing that style, Nu-Djent/Djent-hop may well be one of the most divisive genres in metal nowadays. Glaswegian five-piece Neshiima not only fall into that category, but have thrown in a grand concept into their latest release.
Self-released via GoFundMe, Beware of Gifts is the second release from the band –– following on from last year’s Distance EP. The mini-album’s concept centres around the Japanese myth of Urashima Taro; where a fisherman rescues a turtle, visits a dragon god under the sea, and time travels.
That sounds like a recipe for something pretty expansive/potentially pretentious, the concept doesn’t overpower the music, and really just makes for some nice artwork. Musically, Neshiima have their fingers in a lot of pies. Anyone familiar with the groove and grime of Devastator or Hacktivist will be in familiar ground, but the rapping is only one part. Liam Hasslewood does a decent job of showing off his vocal range, managing to combine harsh screams reminiscent of an early Corey Taylor and decent – if occasionally a little lacklustre – clean vocals all into one package.
If early Slipknot had a Djent-phase, they’d probably sound pretty similar to Neshiima; it’s aggressive, it’s melodic, with a twist of rapping that fans of UK grime music might enjoy. The Meshuggah-inspired palm mute riffs are an ever present; enjoyable but lacking variety – a problem with the entire Djent movement. The good tracks work very well; ‘Those Who Suffer’ is a good example of all the sporadic parts of their sounding coming together, ‘The Cycle’ packs a good heavy/light punch, while album closer ‘Play You Part’ is probably the highlight of the record.
But while clearly fans of the soaring melodic chorus, Beware of Gifts is guilty of being steadfastly mid-tempo most of the way through. While there is variety in both the vocals and the riffs on offer, nonetheless Neshiima never really get the blood pumping. ‘Above the Storm’ falls short, lead single ‘Become the Storm’ has the variety but lacks any real impact, while ‘So Easy’ passes by without leaving much of an impression.
Neshiima know how to do heavy, and have a talent for blending all the elements into one mixing pot, but the melodic elements often fall flat and aren’t memorable. But they have managed to put a spin on things and there really aren’t many bands who sound like them, so that should be applauded. Potentially ones for the future.