Label: APF Records
When you cut right down to the bone, metal is – generally speaking – a pretty enjoyable genre. Sure, there’s some exceptions, but as in most cases, there’s real joy to be found in the crash of cymbals and drums, and in heavy riffs being played at loud volumes. Manchester’s Nomad exemplify this incredibly well on debut full-length Feral, an album that encapsulates the thrill and fun of heavy music. Much like, say, Orange Goblin, Cathedral, or fellow underground warriors Allfather, this is heavy music at its most enjoyable, packed with riffs that are bound to result in spontaneous headbanging, all done with a grin and fist raised in triumph at just how wonderful metal can be.
Over the course of the 42 minutes of Feral, Nomad take the listener on a journey through all of the best parts of the sludge and doom genres. You’re never more than a few moments away from a heavy, groove-laden riff that recalls Eyehategod at their catchiest; whilst the sense of energy and momentum is drawn right from the core of heavy metal’s DNA, and its roots in the blues and rock’n’roll. And throughout, Feral is never less than bone-crushingly heavy; yet this weight and heft comes not from a place of nihilism or hatred, but instead because playing music at volume is fun, both for the musicians involved and those listening to it.
As this might imply, there’s not anything too ground-breaking or new contained within Feral; if you’re looking for the next evolutionary step in doom or sludge, you won’t find it here. Yet to go in expecting such would be to entirely miss the point of what Nomad are trying to do. It stays true to the typical sludge/doom playbook because that’s what the band want to do; and when the results are of such quality, and so enjoyable to listen to, there’s no real argument to be raised against such an approach.
Indeed, Feral is an album that might just help restore your faith in metal. The way the band blend melody and Sabbath-esque weight in the riffs and leads during ‘Swarm’; the tar-laden stomp of ‘The War is Never Over’; or the slow-burning grace of closer ‘Shallow Fate’. It’s an album that taps in to the very best aspects of the heaviest of metal, and over the course of 42 minutes, Nomad deliver something that might not break new ground, but when the results are this good, why do they need to?