Naryan - Black Letters

(CD 2016, 50:20, Inverse Records)

The tracks:
  1- Black Letters(4:25)
  2- My End Leaf(4:32)
  3- Frost(4:54)
  4- I Promise You(5:30)
  5- In Silence(4:03)
  6- Together In This(5:37)
  7- Misery(4:43)
  8- Sleeping Beauty(4:29)
  9- Hey Girl(5:43)
10- 764(7:20)

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Naryan from Finland are a band in serious need of figuring out their identity. Had this been an instrumental album, this would clearly fit into symphonic prog but unfortunately vocalist Tommi Niemi has metal aspirations and rather than the album becoming a true contender for the Prog-Metal title, it becomes a disjointed and difficult to listen to mis-match of styles. While Niemi tones things down on a number of tracks, he is obviously more comfortable with metal scream vocals than he is with melodic ballads.

Outstanding performances by Nona Onnela on violin and Eveliina Sydänlähde on keyboards and bass save this album from being a total train wreck. Guitarists Lauri Kovero and Raino Ketola seem to battle between being melodic and trying to pull off random metal riffs. The band is rounded out by drummer Tommi Tanhuanpää.

Frost and I Promise You show us what this band could have sounded like if they could just drop the attempts to sound like Dream Theater, but they just end up sounding out of place. The somewhat symphonic In Silence is perhaps the best track on the disc and acts like a brief interlude in the middle of the album.

The classic prog fan in me is disturbed by the metal stylings and the prog-metal fan in me is disturbed by the unnerving attempts to “soften” up the songs - and ultimately Naryan fails at both styles. I would avoid this album...but that's my personal taste!

* David Carswell

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