Review by Vladimir on July 21, 2023.
I guess it’s a fine day to get nostalgic and depressed at the same time, because for this review, I’ll be covering Nostalghia. No, I am not talking about that chick Ciscandra Nostalghia who co-wrote and performed two songs for John Wick: Chapter 2 and also appeared in it, the one I am talking about is the atmospheric post-black metal one-man band Nostalghia from Mexico. This band has already put out one album this year, which is the seventh full-length album The Last Path that was released on May 5th, but the album I’ll be reviewing is the eighth album Duelo, released on July 7th. Although I am usually very hesitant to check out bands that have this nasty habit of releasing two or three full-length albums a year, I decided to check this one out because of YouTube’s generous recommendation.
The album starts with a very tender acoustic guitar intro 'Premier Deuil' which nicely sets up the depressive tone while slowly building up on the atmosphere of Duelo. Afterwards, we are introduced to the musical delight of this album, comprised of tremolo picking riffs and melodies, mid-tempo drumming that occasionally switches to double-bass drumming or blast beats, and maniacal screaming vocals which are ridiculous yet so unsettling. Sometimes the vocals would switch from the usual maniacal screaming to harsh shouting vocals, though these occasions occur when you least expect them. The second track 'Self Inflicted' contains a very surprising, yet oddly satisfying jazz-like moment with a clarinet, piano and slow drums, which would quickly switch back to black metal. The album’s overall songwriting is pretty dynamic and well structured, with some moments of mesmerizing guitar riffs and even excellent bass lines incorporated on the fifth track 'May'. The sixth track 'Isolation' may be the only track on this album that feels the most standard black metal in terms of songwriting, but overall, it is still a great track with tons of awesome melodies on top of atmospheric riffs and it certainly doesn’t break away from the album’s established immersion. The maniacal screaming vocals did put me off a bit on my first listening, but considering the fact that I am personally attached to 90’s Burzum albums after all these years, this one is somewhat close to what Count Grishcnack did back then and is far from something that anyone would consider a cringy performance. The interesting inclusion of the jazz-like moment on the second track, as well as melancholic clean guitars and pianos, really worked well to create something special that this album has to offer and I think that the album’s melancholic and tragic atmosphere was nicely set up from the start. As for the sound production, the distorted guitar tone is very raw, while the clean guitars and drums are pristine, whereas the vocal mix was handled in a manner where they sound as if they’re very distant from the instrumental performance.
I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy this one, but I must say that it was a pleasant surprise that really gave me a good time. As I previously said, I don’t like it when I come across a band that releases a dozen of singles or albums in a year, because it can quickly make me lose my interest or you’d expect the band to get lazy after a while, but in this case, I was not disappointed with what I had to hear. For fans of very underground and obscure atmospheric black metal with post-black metal style, I highly recommend that you check out Nostalghia from Mexico.
Rating: 8.4 out of 10267