NOMAD "The Mountain"

By Dr. Abner Mality

British Columbia's beautiful Okanagan Valley, hangout of the lake monster Ogopogo, is the home of this interesting band. In the last few months, I've heard of several bands hailing from this area and NOMAD look to be the most ambitious of the lot. "The Mountain" starts out with tons of promise but loses its way a bit towards the end.

They are certainly a melting pot of influences. The press describes them as progressive death metal and that is surely part of their makeup, but I hear traces of LAMB OF GOD, MASTODON, FEAR FACTORY and METALLICA bubbling to the surface here. Those names may send some of the more hardcore fleeing, but "The Mountain" is a pretty heavy duty piece of work that keeps you guessing. Some of the songs are quite long and travel very twisting paths to reach their destination.

It's not at all predictable. Take "Revolution", which starts with a kind of prog-stoner riff and singsong clean vocals, but detours drastically into thick as tar sludge doom and monster growls that rival MASSACRE's Kam Lee. "Haunted" is a twisting puzzler of a song, kind of thrashy but ever morphing and twisting. The growling vocals prevail but NOMAD boasts 3 vocalists, which keeps you on your toes. The long songs are a bit of a mixed bag. "Relentless" is a hell of an intense roller coaster ride, constantly shifting and going somewhere new but living up to its title. "Blood Moon" and "Choke" wind up being a little bit too epic for their own good and couldn't totally sustain my interest, although there are certainly good parts to both.

Musicianship is very strong, but the drums are wildly erratic, sometimes indulging in some cool and novel patterns and other times just sounding like a thin triggered mess. "A Lonely Wanderer" and "Rise In the Fall" are both pretty strong and heavy tunes, but the choppy, FEAR FACTORY influenced "Processor" doesn't convince and along with "Choke", kind of takes the edge off the album for me. But for a brand new band coming from a fairly remote area, NOMAD has really hooked my interest and in the future, this might become an extremely potent band.