After remaining a powerful and consistent name in the North Carolina music scene for well over a decade now, Nephilym’s self-titled release blasts straight out of the gate with “Voices”. A massive grooving guitar riff sets the stage for the rest of the album, which tosses back and forth a seemingly yin-yang contrast of heavy breakdowns and softer, acoustic-drenched alternative rock.
Great rock bands and radio ear-candy go hand in hand, and lead single “Could Have Been” delivers in spades. Any fan of honest songwriting will easily gravitate towards the subject of nostalgia and loss, which is impressively depicted in this song.
The album takes it up a notch with “Horsemen”, utilizing instrumental breaks tastefully, without the overly predictable songwriting formula adopted by many groups of the early to mid 2000s. It finally lands at an ending breakdown that metalcore fans of the aforementioned generation won’t be able to resist moshing to.
“The Place We Call Home” undoubtedly stands as my personal favorite. Raw, sentimental poetry sits atop a foundation of acoustic guitar, piano, and strings; eventually building into a finale of purely emotional rock.
Another standout is the simply heavy, constantly marching rhythm of “Challenger Deep”. This one establishes more of a call-and-response correlation between whispered verses and ear-splitting screams in a style that was arguably made prominent by nu-metal acts of the late 1990s.
One of Nephilym’s paramount strengths lies in a detailed variety of vocal styles. Too often, it seems that frontmen in the hard-rock genre will settle on an undeviating palette, rarely stepping outside of their comfort zone. In the case of vocalist Brent Underwood, the variation of soulful melody and gut-wrenching roars make up just a few of a slightly larger range of vocal tones, with one style not overpowering another. Many of the 12 tracks offer a professedly divergent combination of instrumental and vocal flavors that I would urge everyone, rock fan or not, to delve into.
Buy the album, connect with the band on Facebook, and make sure you catch them in your area!