NI – Fol Na​ï​s

Dur et Doux 2023

NI –
Fol Na​ï​s

Leaving the linear routes of the Lyon region, a quartet of squall-seekers delve into ancient past to discover darkened future.

If the name of this Bourg-en-Bresse band looks like a Roman numeral on the cover of the album that appeared four years after its predecessor, which was out four years after the foursome’s full-length debut, there’s nothing illogical; and if “Ni” feels a bit negative, there’s nothing nihilistic in this ensemble’s attention to detail coagulating into an almost symphonic sonic painting of epic proportions. Filled to the brim with tenebrous riffs, “Fol Na​ï​s” doesn’t fall victim to stoner rock’s doomy agenda, as its earth-splitting heaviness is tempered with electronic effects and is, as a result, even more sinister while what could pass for infernal singing is limited to sinners’ screams offering a widescreen experience to cease the suffering of disturbed souls via the use of riveting tunes and tight arrangements.

Although “orchestral onslaught” may seem like an oxymoron of sorts, this is the group’s modus operandi not only on the triptych of “Triboulet” where slowly burning chords get heated up to clang and to hypnotic hellfire, but on the other pieces too. The charges begin with “Zerkon” whose folk drone will gradually expand its dynamic scope before acoustic strings reveal a brief flurry of notes and let the bubble burst into an aural avalanche in which Anthony Béard and François Mignot’s blinding, blitzing guitars stumble over the mighty groove served by Benoit Lecomte’s bass and Nicolas Bernollin’s drums that’s deceptively speedy yet, in fact, unhurried enough to deliver cinematic passages along the way. However, “Dagonet” accelerates the collective’s devilish dance to a trance-inducing, Crimson-colored rave ‘n’ rage, and “Brusquet” engages in transporting white noise towards techno sensibilities without ever allowing the quartet to relent their attack until “Berdic” first brings crystalline ringing to the surface and then breaks the fragile worry created at the start to restore solemnity further down the line.

Given such a resolution, “Chicot” couldn’t be more surprising, spanking the listener with angry funk – unlike “Rigoletto” which bulges with rhythmic fury that’s fervent to a jovial extent and unlike “Cathelot” which crawls and draws on in a menacing manner to set the stage for the album’s final triumph, the glorious cathedral of the drone it featured on arrival. Darkly impressive, “Fol Na​ï​s” is a chef d’oeuvre.


February 19, 2024

Category(s): Reviews
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