Nemesis - Nemesis [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Nemesis [7-inch] (2012)

Head 2 Wall

[Editor's note: This band includes Scott Brown, a.k.a. Overdefined, former writer for John Gentile owes him nothing, I tell you, nothing, so don't worry about a conflict of interest here. A-nope, nope nope.]

With a cover featuring an owl surrounded by variations on a pattern, Nemesis show that they are wise to the modern hardcore scene, and know how to manipulate its tropes into getting some new insight from the well worn territory.

Nemesis' self-titled 7" is clearly a modern hardcore approaching metalcore record. Chugging guitars and thick bass rumble forward like heavy tanks. The drums clomp forward like a Clydesdale. The vocals are nearly always screamed. But, while that could be used to describe almost any modern hardcore record, the band covers a great deal of ground in the narrow genre.

Primarily, the band maintains a medium pace. The music is so thick that at times it sounds as if they draw their sound from Seasons in the Abyss-era Slayer. Yet, similar to that particular Slayer record, Nemesis' lyrics seem more abstract, more akin to Converge's otherworldly lyrics than more direct fare like Agnostic Front.

Likewise, while this is clearly a hardcore record, at times the band visits the genre's boundaries, sometimes starting with a beeping guitar that is more post-punk abstraction than anything else, only to drop back down into a guttural chug. Other times, the band hurls forward with speed of Minor Threat, but with the weight of the Cro-Mags.

But, as easily as the band manipulates the various facets of hardcore, they still seem somewhat bound. Every track seems to be level 10 angry and level 10 screaming. While there need not necessarily be "singing," some variation in the howls a la Integrity or Misery would give the band some more room to expand. Still, while the screaming is a bit samey, it is distinctive, and at times portrays a more venomous attack while at other times seeming on the retreat Also, to be fair, you only have so much room on a 7".

Nemesis' debut shows that the band has honed their craft and are able to easily wield the gamut of modern hardcore and piece it together to make a varied, texture listen–which in of itself puts them above most of their contemporaries. Like a 12" will give them the room they need to make the leap they already know they can make.