Nelecc – A Thousand Suns (Song Review)

 “Nelecc” is a solo project by Nelson Musyoka. He is well known for his vocal covers of extreme metal. You might also recall that he was the founder of Kenyan metal core band “Irony Destroyed”. The project explores epic music and atmospheric black metal. Significantly the project presents a novelty within the metal community in Kenya as it is the first of its name at least in recent memory. Black metal has previously only been explored by “Absence of Light” whose debut album  “Vyom Chakra” was re-released through Depressive Illusions Records. However Black Metal of this kind, one that is nuanced with atmospherics and clothed in epic veneer is distinguishably new. 

For the keen ear, names like “Mare Cognitum”, “Audiomachine” and “Endless Skies” may come to mind when listening. There is also a degree of the depressive suicidal elements that may come to mind most probably caused by the claustrophobic effect that the swirling riffs and the distant nature of the growling as enveloped by the instrumentation. But aside from what may strike black metal enthusiasts as familiar there is also a tinge of the personal that this song writer and composer provides.

Elements and structure of the song.

The first act of this musical exposition is characterized by a piano playing that starts us off on a journey where there is more room for thought. The technique, either deliberately or by accident comes off as hesitant. Nothing else plays there. This section of the song, on its own leaves one guessing. You wouldn’t really know what kind of song this would be. The notes aren’t intricate here. On the contrary, they are bare and the progression is almost slow and reluctant. The effect is that my anxiety and heart beat slowed down. Neurons weren’t firing off in all directions like a firework show. My pulse is slow and I am only aware of the vast void as well as my sole but insignificant presence within it.

However this spirit of contemplation prevails only but for a brief instant when suddenly, without a moment for pause, you are seized upon by sense of despondency and dread. The landscape shifts completely. Where before there was all this vast empty space, now all around there is an indignant melody of tremolo picked riffs that soar incessantly. There is a foundation to this swirling whirlwind of distorted guitars, a base held together by a consistently pattering pattern of drum work. The piano melody also takes new shape, almost seeming to lead this whole orchestral composition towards what I felt is the embodiment human despair. Within this second act is when we get to the heart of the track. 

This is where gruff growls like a cracking voice on an unstable telephone connection rears its head. The vocals are within the mix and they are heard as one would hear messages from the dead as conjured by a necromancer; or even as one would hear one’s conscience speak in the midst of feelings of insecurity, doubt, unconnected but multifarious thoughts and a blanket feeling of despair. It would be like being crept upon by one’s thoughts so suddenly. 

The execution is so well done and one would be remiss to still call this the work of an amateur. There are no glitches in the progression. Nelecc sticks with what works, not experimenting too much on bizarre concepts. Nevertheless the same elements that work like the catchy riffs aren’t overdone to a point that they are unbearable. 
After this second act the track circles back to the spacey and hesitant place where it began.  This gives the track a cyclic effect that resolves it from the beginning to the end. What you are now left with is a sumptuous serving of bittersweet elements, a bit of frigid despondency that will push you to hold onto yourself while also giving you a sense of yearning because of its pleasing effect. It is a damaging drug, but a drug that I want a shot of every single time.

Reviewed by:

Kobimbo Daniel Otieno

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