Nephren-Ka – La Grande Guerre De l’Epice

Nephren-Ka is a band from Auzon, France and has been active since 2006. Both the band name and the name of their demo “Maze of the black Farao” hint to the novel “Haunter of the Dark” by H.P. Lovecraft. But it is also a hint to the musical influences of Nile. “La Gande Guerre De l’Epice” is Nephren-Ka’s second full-length. This album is a concept album since all the lyrics handle the Frank Herbert Dune novels.

So musically the band has quite some riffs in the vain of Nile. Sometimes these influences are more subtle but there are also some examples where the similarities are almost cringeworthy. Between track 6 and 7 there is an intermezzo which is a direct rip-off from the soundscapes on Nile’s “Black Seeds Of Vengeance” and the 7th track “The Great Spice War” is very much Nile like.

The biggest musical influence however is Origin, the vocal arrangements, drumming arrangements and all riffwork that isn’t done in Nile style just screams Origin. So much that one could quite easily mistake this album for another Origin release with some oddball Nile reverences.

Which is a pity because the production, performance and the songwriting are excellent! So I’m a bit torn up here on the one hand it’s a brilliant brutal technical death metal album, but one the other hand it lacks absolutely any character of it’s own.

The last track of the album is a Candlemass cover “Mirror, Mirror” where the drum arrangement has been made more “brutal” (ie fast double bast drumming and blast been have been added) and the vocals have been replaced by grunts, except of the chorus where some clean vocals can be heard in the background. Not a noteworthy cover in my opinion, although it does have a nice old school atmosphere to it, in spite of the modern elements.

The album gets an average of 3 stars because I would say 5 stars for quality but 2 for its originality.

  1. Watch And Learn
  2. Plan To Master The Universe
  3. The Demise Of Ix
  4. Proditoris Gloriosa
  5. Idar Fen Adijica
  6. New Melange For The Real God
  7. The Great Spice War
  8. Fenring's Test
  9. From High Hopes To Failure Complete
  10. Regarde Et Apprends
  11. Mirror Mirror (cover Candlemass)