Sometimes, the most productive thing in life can be to step back. It can be a difficult lesson to learn, but the way forward can, at times, involve not working harder, but removing yourself from a situation, re-assessing what is going right and wrong, and catching your breath. I don’t know whether such thoughts are behind the five-year hiatus that Naisian took, but whatever the reasons, it has paid dividends, as Rejoinder is the sound of a band in love with their brand of nasty, down-tuned sludge and noise-rock. In the space of twelve short minutes, it demonstrates a band who are at the top of their game, moving with the power and agility of a champion boxer, and hitting every bit as hard.
Agility may seem like an odd word to use when describing music this weighty, where the guitars are drenched in tar and the drums hit like a caveman striking rocks on skulls. And yet, there’s an undeniable feeling throughout Rejoinder of deftness, of a band who are making music that is heavy and weighty because they want to, rather than through any lack of talent; where short bursts of melody and technical ecstasy never feel far away, no matter how punishing things get.
And believe me: they get punishing. Rejoinder is an emotionally draining, musically crushing EP, where those fragments of melody and light make the bleakness seem all the more real and effective. This is not music for good times – it is too emotionally charged for that, powered as much by regret as it is anger. And yet, there is something enjoyable to behold in Naisian’s sound, with the band clearly putting their all in to these three songs – not to mention the sheer joy of hearing well-written songs played at loud volumes. There’s a sense of humour in the songs too – such as with ‘Mantis Rising’ being about a mantis shrimp attacking a chef about to cook it – and, though that comes through in the overall approach of Naisian, it’s hard to pick out any specifics of this whilst the songs are playing.
Not that it especially matters. Rejoinder is all about weighty riffs, loud volumes, and the cathartic power of slowed-down riffs – all of which it possesses in abundance. It’s not pretty, it’s over quite quickly, and it hides its intelligence well, but Rejoinder is a hugely enjoyable listen, and a very welcome return from Naisian.
Rejoinder is due for release on 6 July 2018, and can be pre-ordered on CD via Bandcamp.