Naer Mataron

River at Dash Scalding

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Like the best black metal, Naer Mataron's musical attempts to reconcile complete chaos and majestic execution in equal measures conjures up a maelstrom of contradictions that seduces listeners as much for its unmitigated inaccessibility as its challenging test of will. Unlike the best black metal, the band's third opus, 2003's River at Dash Scalding, simply lacks the consistently inventive songwriting to pull this idealized formula off from start to finish. Over the course of its nearly hour-long onslaught, the album shows brief flashes of excellence ("The Continuity of Land and Blood," "Ancestor-Worship," and, most notably, "The Life and Death of Europa"), but in the end, it is these songs' carefully studious lyrics dealing with Greek mythology that provide the most entertainment value. Considering the group's undeniable musical prowess -- including the talents of the supposed 'fastest drummer on the continent' in the aptly-named Warhead -- Naer Mataron are bound to convert a few additional fans to their cause, but casual metal fans are likely to emerge from this aural lambasting somewhat nonplussed. In other words, Rotting Christ this is not,; River at Dash Scalding simply lacks the finesse and emotional range.

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