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Balboa / Nitro Mega Prayer: SplitSplit (2006)
Reviewer Rating: 4
Contributed by: AnchorsAnchors
(others by this writer | submit your own)
It’s a great feeling to see a band you like really grow and progress. See them start out a band ultimately unsure of their musical direction, and end up streamlining their sound into something truly impressive. Such is the case with Philly’s finest, Balboa. As I mentioned in my review of their 2005 EP, Manifeste Cannibale, this band is somewhat of a politically minded Converge, and their musical vision has only strengthened with this release, a split with Japan’s emotive hardcore giants, Nitro Mega Prayer.
The elite are always devising ways to separate the poor from meaning, to steal their claims of legitimacy / They scare to commune with those from below, but they have no problem dominating them / Like a logger getting a blow dart to the neck, this canopy has eyes / With the mystery of what lurks in the dark branches, take it away and sell it off to the highest bidder.It’s easy to see how this band is able to make every buildup and release sound so epic and poignant, and even the instrumental track, “Renga,” displays this in nothing short of a perfect manner. The ebb and flow of this song is a testament to how in tune with each other these four band members are, the aura given off by the song is as chilling as the words ripping Bloom’s vocal chords in two of the other three songs.
Not to be outdone, however, Nitro Mega Prayer immediately bring to mind their partners in both music and nationality, Envy. The same frantic musicianship, the same manic vocals, the same gusto is present in each of these bands' approach. NMP, just as Envy, has a penchant for the dramatic. “Filter” is an interesting endeavor to say the least, as the transition from a serene, electronic passage with haunting screams echoed in the background is quickly followed by a grandiose crescendo, and the shrieking of vocalist Tomo Nakano really brings the band to life amidst the melodic rhythms playing so succinctly underneath him. Once this powerhouse gets rolling, there’s little that can be done to stop it.
The music of these two bands does nothing if not perfectly compliment each other, and while the approach might be different, the passion for music and the talent both use to bring that out is what brings them so perfectly together.
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