Nem-Q is a Dutch progressive metal band founded in 2004. Their first full length album Opportunities Of Tomorrow (2007) contained a mixture of rock, metal, jazz, fusion and pop-rock. After the drummer had been replaced in 2008, Nem-Q took the time to write and record their second album 301.81. The band even succeeded in getting a deal with a record company. This second album produced by Nem-Q, distinguishes itself from its predecessor by more complex melodies and vocal lines, heavier riffs and a much darker atmosphere. At least, that's what it says in the band's biography...
301.81 is a concept album telling the story of Adrian, a dude having a narcissistic personality disorder. This is a rather unusual but interesting theme regarding the fact that the lyrics of most rock songs deal with women. Both the artwork and the website are tasteful exuding professionalism. In other reviews and articles Nem-Q are compared to bands like Fates Warning, Queensr˙che, Marillion and IQ. Well, these comparisons made me anxious to play the CD immediately! However, what remained after two minutes or so was sheer astonishment and disappointment. A lot of pretentions, but they can't live up to the expectations. The vocals are sometimes out of tune and sung in a kind of unintelligible English. Moreover, they're mixed in the background and therefore barely audible. The drums and the synthesizers dominate the guitars and the basses which makes a sharp focus on both the story and the music impossible.
Some people think that I write critical reviews, because I'm a musician and producer myself. For that reason I asked some relatives to listen to this album as well and they all came to the same judgment about 301.81. So I have to be straightforward. In my opinion this album sounds awful. I know it's completely self-made and I don't know what went wrong during the process, but it certainly went wrong. I strongly recommend a remix of the music! And please, next time hire an independent coaching producer, who'll adjusts goals and cuts pretentions. I still think there's a fine band underneath. 'The harder they come, the harder they'll fall' (Jimmy Cliff).
* Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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