Névoa - Towards Belief review

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Band: Névoa
Album: Towards Belief
Release date: November 2020

01. Atonement
02. Ember Motion
03. Altering Mass
04. Thrice I Breathe
05. With Devotional Pace
06. Unending

Towards Belief is the sound of a band pulling off a musical evolution with aplomb.

In this age of streaming, I continue to download digital copies of albums that I come across and feel may have lasting appeal. Even if I subsequently don't revisit them, having the albums in my digital library keeps the bands on the periphery of my awareness, meaning I occasionally discover a future gem they put out. I rather enjoyed Névoa's Re Un when it dropped in 2016, but after downloading it, I probably only gave it one or two more replays before mostly forgetting about it. Having purchased it through Bandcamp, however, I did get an email notification when the group's follow-up album Towards Belief was announced, which inspired me to review the new release, revisiting Re Un in the process. As a result, I've rediscovered a quality album, as well as encountering a new great album that would otherwise have likely sailed under my radar.

Re Un, loosely falling under the 'post-black' umbrella, was an impressive combination of several styles, featuring at different times black-tinged post-metal, powerful sludge and trudging doom. However, the one element of their sound that stood out in particular was the almost Oranssi Pazuzu-esque psychedelic black metal on "II Contemplation", and Névoa evidently agreed, as that feels like the aspect of Re Un that the Portuguese duo decided to delve substantially further into on Towards Belief. It doesn't take long for this to become apparent; "Atonement" kicks things off in frantic fashion, with blast beats, tremolo and chaotic saxophone delivering an almighty cacophony for the first minute.

This saxophone also hints at a new direction Névoa have gone in here, namely the significant inclusion of jazz elements. That aforementioned frenzy is followed by a mellow jazzy stretch dominated by a saxophone solo, delivered by guest musician Julius Gabriel (Arve Henriksen also provides guest trumpet on this track, and both also feature on "Thrice I Breathe"). Starting off the album in striking fashion, "Atonement" also features miserable blackened doom in its second half, which builds up in impressive fashion to a stirring climax.

Beyond this bold first statement, Towards Belief sees Névoa traverse stretches of muted psychedelia ("Ember Motion"), more intense sonic whirlwinds ("Altering Mass") and smooth jazz ("Thrice I Breathe"), all of it performed with excellence. "Ember Motion" in particular evolves in a protracted but well-paced manner, culminating in some truly powerful contorted riffs on what may be the song most indebted to that Oranssi Pazuzu school of extreme psychedelia, although the harsher "Altering Mass" gives it solid competition for that title. There are moments on this album that call back to the low-end heaviness of the different styles employed on Re Un, as "With Devotional Pace" builds into the kind of blackened post-metal sound that appeared on "I Communion" from the previous record, but for the most part the elements that dominated Re Un are as rarely utilized here as the dominant sounds on Towards Belief were utilized on Re Un. However, as welcome as those sonic callbacks are when they appear, with "With Devotional Pace" being one of my favourite songs on the record, they are not missed when absent due to how adept Névoa turn out to be at writing this dark jazz/psychedelic metal.

The thing that really impresses me about Towards Belief isn't just that Névoa managed to move into a new and relatively unique sound and utilize it so successfully, but that this type of sonic shift wasn't even required for them to stand out; Re Un was a distinctive-sounding post-black metal album that set Névoa apart from the large majority of other bands, so they could've easily continued in that vein whilst still sounding unique. Instead, Névoa showed the level of creativity and ambition that took them to that sound in the first place and decided they needed to push further into new territory, taking risks that weren't necessary but that amply paid off. If you enjoy Oranssi Pazuzu, jazz elements in metal or even just bands that push the envelope whilst other metal bands repeat and rehash the past 50 years of musical development, Towards Belief is well worth your attention.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Written on 28.11.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 3   Visited by: 78 users
28.11.2020 - 23:26
I'm so glad you reminded me of this band. They're definitely growing a lot on me.
Jusqu'ici, tout va bien...

2021 goodies
29.11.2020 - 00:06
Written by RaduP on 28.11.2020 at 23:26

I'm so glad you reminded me of this band. They're definitely growing a lot on me.

They're probably about to grow on you more with this album
29.11.2020 - 20:21
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
I have nothing against BC download, band gets some cash, i have old school cd, tspes, vinyl on old mans home, now here most on pc. I will buy a house in 5 years in a forest, Fire place. Craft beer room, ciggar, pipe, whisky room, i will have vinyl, cool, now donate me money lol
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing

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