TESA - NEKAD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


NEKAD (2007)

Old Skool Kids

Okay, see the cover of TESA's EP there to your right? Now, look at the cover of Isis' In the Absence of Truth. Yep, they're pretty similar, only with a few minor differences. The same could essentially be said for the music on TESA's NEKAD EP, but in very positive ways.

The comparison I'm speaking of regards Isis the band and not necessarily that album, In the Absence of Truth. In fact, I think NEKAD -- which is void of Isis' strange, nasally sung vocals -- is stronger than said full-length. TESA build their metallic instrumentals to pummeling climaxes and, at least in one song, a frothy, dissonant scream layered atop them. The Latvian trio might title their songs rather frustratingly (it's like this on their other damn record, too), but opener "Part 87" makes fantastic use of a weird voice-over clip during its buildup to explode in that finish, which segues perfectly into the tense "Part 97." It's a simple formula on paper but comes across much more complex aurally from the band, who tend to garner associations with the similarly minded Cult of Luna too.

They don't even use that aforementioned scream in half the songs and yet the tracks work just fine without it, like the brief yet triumphant "Part 28." However, what they do use a little more often is electronics and it adds an appropriately weird layer to an already dark, methodical sound -- they're always easy to take, too, usually being just eccentric keyboard lines.

Every track flows into one another as if NEKAD wasn't already cohesive enough. Songs like "Part 18" and "Part 38" prove the band isn't all plod and plug, but sometimes they can be actually somewhat plowing through their songs -- the latter even winds down with handclaps. Simply put they just sound active for a band of this style; they don't move at fast tempos but they certainly exhibit enough energy, and you can sense that would be a sight to see live.

I love when bands of this style never overextend, and in EP form it just seems the best. NEKAD is great in that sense, producing a 27-minute stock of intense and well-crafted work.

Part 97
Part 28