There are very few things in this world better than people who are prepared to be different, especially in music. Whether you are mashing 9 different styles together to create the perfect musical blend or carving out your niche as using something never heard before, different is what makes the world go round. This blog thrives on different and so do these guys; Neshiima.
Neshiima are Liam Hasslewood (Vocals/guitar) Calum Stansfield (Guitar) Craig Rankin (Bass) and Danny Cameron (Drums/percussion) Hailing from Crieff, Perth and Glasgow up in Scotland this band are straight up unorthodox, their music is an ear drum hammering patchwork quilt made up of a huge number of different styles and influences designed to make an impact. The band were put together by front man Hasslewood, who after a challenging 2012 needed an outlet for his new found rush of creativity, and eventually Neshiima were born.
Distance is the band’s debut EP and it hit stores 1st May. So the real question after all that is… are they actually any good?
Opening track ‘Edge Of The World’ is the band in a nutshell. It’s low on subtlety but as high as you like on attitude. Part metal, part hip hop it’s straight up and in your face. The central guitar riff hammers the track forwards assaulting your senses in the process with the lyrics kicked ferociously over the top in this all action effort.
‘Madness’ is exactly what it says on the tin. The intro is a melody which could have come straight from one of those music boxes that appear in horror films where just as the child opens the lid they get dragged to hell. It’s the soundtrack to a fairground you hope you never have to visit. A cacophony of guitars and drums then come cascading in with Hasslewood’s rapid fire raps giving the whole thing direction. Vocally we get rapping, singing and screams crammed into nearly 4 and a half minutes of chaos, this is definitely one of the EP’s highlights.
Although previously thought impossible things flip up a notch on the heavy rock/metal crossover ‘Confidence.’ The riffs are faster and not as deliberate as they are in the opening tracks, firing along at a breakneck pace instead of following the more hip hop style patterns that they did earlier where they provided a platform for the verses. If you’re easily offended by huge screaming vocals then I’d recommend that you look away now because large portions of this track will rip your face off, I’m not a massive fan of screams being used too often but they do get the job done here.
‘Rebuild’ sees the band return to more of their staple sound, except for the most part the rapping has been replaced by singing. These guys have such a huge amount of scope for the type of material that they could produce, which is a massive plus but in terms of this project that also sometimes creates a bit of a negative. By this I mean that there is such a huge scope of things that they are capable of that I can’t help but wonder why didn’t they push the boundaries further? In places the riffs are a little bit formulaic and could do with a bit more variation because as on this track things are in danger of becoming a little but samey. That said this is still a decent track and the way it drops away and returns with a bang around ¾’s of the way in is a definite plus but in the context of the whole EP you feel like you have heard it all before to some extent.
Penultimate track ‘A.F.G’ while maintaining the bands all action style it also manages to incorporate some mellower sections which are a really good addition. The chorus as well is definitely more anthemic and will give fans something to latch onto especially during live shows. The only slight criticism is that there is some good guitar work (the closest thing this lot get to a solo) not far from the end but it is buried right down in the mix and personally I would I have liked it to be more at the forefront, but I think these things come down to personal preference.
‘Exhale’ brings the curtain down on proceedings and is probably my favourite track all things considered. All of the weapons in the bands extensive arsenal are on show, big vocals, big guitars, big noise. In my book it’s a fitting end to a very good record.
As good as Distance is (And it is very good) I’m still left with a small feeling of what might have been. It sounds like an unpolished version of Meteora by Linkin Park, and for the large part that’s brilliant but with a bit of polish and a bit of sharpening up very good could have become exceptional. I’m not saying that the sound needs to be commercialised or anything like that just given a bit more focus in places. But don’t let that take away from what is in many ways a very impressive debut effort. The scope and potential for where this band could go next are pretty limitless but what’s for sure is that I’ll definitely be listening.