Nevermind Me play shoegaze. Nevermind Me play dreampop. Nevermind Me play… black metal. Generic cross-pollination is commonplace nowadays, and it takes style and originality to stand out. Nevermind Me have plenty of both. Not that they completely defy categorisation, or that they can sit comfortably in all of these genres. There are more experimental bands out there, and you’d struggle to call Winter a black metal release. But they blend their influences together well, moving tightly and subtly between styles.
Winter is a powerful, introspective release. Vocalist Sarah’s dreamy delivery is heavily melancholic. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Tom meanwhile emphasises barrenness and anger by juxtaposing spacious passages with blast-beats and thick guitar production. His own shouted vocals add to this angst intensity. Though for fleeting moments the singing is imperfect, it is refreshingly honest. It reminds the listener that this is a project dedicated to expressing raw emotion, beautiful even in its roughest state.
From the first beat of opener Leaves Fall the dream pop elements are evident. Shimmering clean guitars support Sarah’s lulling vocal melodies. Her voice is the album’s anchor; whether the music behind her is gentle guitars or pummeling blast-beats, her approach remains relaxed and effortless. Ostentation is rejected in favour of raw emotion, most evident in the post-rock crescendo. Shoegaze hallmarks are everywhere: wall-of-sound guitars, slow vocal delivery. Black metal also raises its grim, frost-bitten head in the layered harmonies and energetic blast-beat fills.
Second track Alive sets much the same tempo as the first. Dreamy vocals and slightly distorted guitars take centre stage, before building to a ‘chorus.’ Nevermind Me don’t follow traditional song structure, rarely repeating riffs: instead each track feels like variations built on a theme. Although bass and guitar are more gradually introduced, as is some obligatory feedback (it is shoegaze, after all), overall it feels a bit like a downtempo re-hashing of Leaves Fall. But Alive‘s crescendo is brilliantly constructed. Drum fills reminiscent of Sunbather’s Dreamhouse, beautifully simple vocal harmonies, and melodic, grungey guitar work tell a story of desperation and hopelessness. There are even screamed vocals at the back of the mix that add an aggressive tone. Subtle, but it demonstrates the care taken in Winter‘s construction. Alive might begin as the weakest song on the album, but it is built upon expertly.
Half-Closed Eyes provides a pleasant instrumental interlude, breaking Winter into two halves. The entire track consists solely of ethereal guitars that play like the soundtrack to a barren dreamscape. The same shimmering effects of Leaves Fall return, tying things together in under a minute. Nevermind Me bring a melancholic G!YBE vibe to the mix, infusing the track with rising tension, a post-rock calm before the storm.
Time releases the tension perfectly. The opening riff is anthemic, with thick, meaty chords. The drums are pounding, and the vocal melodies are beautiful in their simplicity. The heaviest track by far, this is the moment towards which the whole album has been building. Alive’s aggressive shouts return in full force, but it’s hard to tell whether they are defiant or despairing. Rapid guitars straight from Cascadian black metal thicken this ambiguous atmosphere, maintaining Time’s velocity until the end.
Closer Winter sees a return to the relaxed tones that opened the EP However, multi-instrumentalist Tom’s vocals take centre-stage. His delivery is rough, but the shared vocals is a nice touch that adds power to the song. The song fits the title: it feels cold, sparse, distant, the message bleak. It ends with a powerful, hopeful crescendo, introducing drums that build in intensity before ending on a manic blastbeat. But that hope is ultimately replaced by a lack of it, as Sarah murmurs a telling ‘it starts again.’ The track makes Winter cyclical, both beginning and ending with introspective sadness.
Winter is an honest album, both in terms of its instrumentation and approach. It is not afraid to sit somewhere in the grey areas of generic classification, because to do otherwise would hinder it. It is relaxed. It is aggressive. It presents a variety of tones and emotions with a refreshing fluidity. This is only Nevermind Me‘s second release, a fact which points towards a very promising future. The only real criticism of Winter? That it is only five wonderful tracks.
Scribed by:Will Beattie