Whilst the influences behind Sheffield’s Naisian seem quite clear (Neurosis, Pelican, Russian Circles), the music never sounds over-indebted to any of them, and the band’s third release carries the strongest sense of unique identity thus far. Much of Mammalian expands on the ambient tinged post-metal of the self-titled EP, flicking between galloping riffs and more tranquil passages of entwined clean guitar, underpinned by a stellar drum performance that tumbles and crashes from beneath.
At points I’m reminded of Wavering Radiant-era Isis, for the way in which each member manages to delve into intricacy without spiraling off and unhinging from the rest of the band – regardless of how fast-flowing the music becomes, Naisian are always tightly interlocked. The band also manage to avoid wringing their ideas dry via excessive repetition, and this means that the more uninspiring moments (as rare as they are) are quickly washed over by the strength of the section to follow, as well as showcasing the band’s ability to transform their rehearsal room ideas into well-structured songs and not just jerky, post-metal patchworks.
The title track is perhaps the most impressive offering here. Whilst its first half slots in aptly with the sludgier, jammed out vibe of the first three tracks, the closing four minutes blast down the walls to reveal a gigantic dronescape of melting violins and crumbling guitar – drums drop out and the track seems to collapse in on itself. There’s a clear nod to Sunn 0))) here (complete with an Attila Csihar-esque deranged vocal part) though it never feels derivative. Credit to Naisian for ripping listener anticipation to shreds when an all-crashing crescendo seems so inevitable.
Perhaps Mammalian should have ended here. Much of closing track “I Am Eustache Dauger” is solid – once again, the band string together sections with an effortless eye for continuity and cohesion – however, the final three minutes take the EP to a weak and anti-climactic close, embarking on a predictable plod between two chords and leaving a tedious lead part to wail over the top. But it’s not enough to significantly mar Mammalian; as well as further etching in a sound very much their own, Naisian prove here that this sound is far from restrictive, and display an intent to push it into some fascinating places with music to come.
Mammalian can be purchased here: http://naisian.bigcartel.com/product…-february-18th