Album Review: Nafrat – Abnegation

Nafrat

Nafrat’s debut album, Through Imminent Visions (2008), was a fairly interesting one; it contained some really good material and despite not being anything particularly special it was a good first album from a young band that showed a lot of promise. Looking to progress upon that potential, the Singaporean death metallers with their second and brand new album, Abnegation, show the band carrying on with their progressive death metal sound yet whilst fixing several of the flaws that were present on the predecessor.

The main difference between Abnegation and Through Imminent Visions is that the songs have a much stronger sense of purpose. None of the songs ever feel overstretched, there’s no sense of incongruity and the overall album comes off as more consistent and has a much better flow as a result. There’s a greater example of stellar musicianship and overall the melodies are more sublime. Nafrat is excellent at creating a mix of technical and melodic death metal. The atmospheric elements are really what sets this group apart.

Nafrat - Abnegation

Nafrat have a tendency to mix elements from all over the death metal spectrum, whether that’s from the progressive and atmospheric variety of bands like Be’lakor and Omnium Gatherum to the Gothenburg scene. It’s a good mixture and one that certainly pays off for this style. Whilst Nafrat are referred to as a progressive band, there’s not much in the way of standard progressive traits such as guitar acrobatics and awkward time signatures. It all feels very comfortable and grounded when compared to what such a label would typically entail.

The vocal work is certainly worthy of note, far removed from the high pitched style used by the Gothenburg scene; the vocals here take the form of a very powerful guttural bark.

Despite the slightly derivative nature of these compositions, Nafrat have created an emotionally engaging and entertaining listen. The guitar work is certainly better than much of what I’ve heard in recent times and the vocals are some of the best in the genre. Abnegation is not an album for those looking for something ground breaking but for those looking for something entertaining and that is good for a number of listens. Fans of Be’lakor, Cynic, Obscura and Omnium Gatherum should definitely give this a chance.