"NU:N (Nothing Unveils Nothing)"
Nowadays, It's rather unusual that seasoned goths unanimously welcome a recording debut, even more if its authors are almost unheard of. Well, it's precisely this scenario which surrounds the Porto-based band NU:N (Nothing Unveils Nothing), whose self-titled first album is running quickly from mouth to mouth. Firmly rooted in the Goth Rock's peak of splendour - early 90's, in my view - NU:N's music conjures images of smoky dance floors, engulfed by hairspray and worn leather smell, while taking us into pitch-black realms that straddle the border between mythology and reverie. Rhythms pulse relentlessly, with the drum machine rattling for war and the bassist performing his grooviest way with deeply dark aplomb. Ambiances are opaque, weirdly aerial, and has been designed from a fleshed out minimalism that turns seconds into minutes, what is as crucial to the mood and the journey as any harsh baritone, minor chord or riff. So, whatever your taste in Goth Rock, these songs should entice you at first listening.
Already in the album's outset, NU:N's contextual ideas crop up with clarity. The intro track "Entrance to Illumination" puts us in sync with a remote, arcane wavelength. Sacred female chants, ancient blown melodies, ominous synths and growls... barely a minute is enough to set a mysterious cathartic climax that will be maintained to the end. "In April of 1984" comes next with dual-edged appeal; on the one hand, it sounds frenzy and eerily classy like those evergreens by Rosetta Stone, drenched in pounding electronics and driven by pulsating bass lines; on the other, guitars chime with gloom, mirroring the gravelly vocals in a way rather reminiscent of earlier Love Like Blood. This double yarns thread firmly the fastest songs and often, as is the case here, there are swaths of rhythmic piano tunes for a thrilling rounding-off which remind much of the Nosferatu's Rise-era. The following can only be described as truly anthemic Goth Rock. "Under Your Stars Above", wisely chosen as advance track, has a perfect balance between tension and release, while never departing from an epic style. Riffs squirm with anger and yearn like they're souls escaping distortion; bouncy and intense, bass joins guitars in the fueling tasks so that the song resonates with Fields of the Nephilim's powerful heritage; drum beats are throughout, tight, restrained to stand out the stringed shimmers and throaty voices, and explosive when they need to be. The pace shifts a gear down with "Scorpio Rising", the album's second single. Wistful, gentle harmonies from both keyboards and guitars move in circles around an icy, yet steady, central beat, providing a plausible sense of elevation. At times, its warm melancholy casts my mind to Red Sun Revival, while the theme is much closer to the Merciful Nuns' ulterior odysseys, as the occult samples at the end of the song and the brooding, piano-driven sequel "Dawn of Terrestrial Birth" clarifies. "Elysium for the Weak", with strong influence of Suspiria's disco-tragedies, and "Dance to the Sun", with clear rings of guitar soaring over swirling electronics and creepy synths, are solid Goth Rock hymns too. By contrast, "This City This Woman" puts a threatening, soundtrackish finale to this record. Minimal rhythms, eerie noises, suspenseful down-tuned strums, watery sounds and hoarsely nightmarish voices penetrate the listener like black light from the mouth of infinity.
Additionally, the collector's edition CD (limited to 500 copies) features two worthy remixes: "Scorpio Rising: Flesh Mix" by Tom Simons (This Veil of Tears) and "Dance to the Sun: Nihilistic Version".
Review by Billyphobia