Nil is a French band that has released 3 previous albums and their preceding album was a remarkable achievement. A concept album made up of two acts over 40 minutes and without interruptions. Here Nil changes to an album made up of 6 tracks, two of which are instrumentals.
Le Gardien begins softly with a guitar playing two chords, accompanied by synth and the voice of Roselyne, the female vocalist. This goes on for 2:10 minutes and then the music becomes more dynamic and faster due to the synth speeding things up ad in come the drums and the rest of the band joins in. Roselyne does a very good job with her beautiful voice, creating some haunting melodies. Though her voice is more appropriate for plain singing in a low key, she manages to deliver the right emotions in all the ways she sings here. Le Gardien’s sound and appealing sound owes it to her voice and the keyboards as well. The guitar part is good but a bit repetitive sounding, and it will change in the coming other songs. This songs spans over 20 minutes in length and as all other songs here, switches tempo and swings between slow, contemplative drum-less parts to more energetic guitar and keyboard driven parts. To me this is a beautiful song filled with much emotions, harmonies and good vocal parts. However, I suspect some might find this song boring, repetitive and going nowhere. While I can understand this criticism I do not agree with it and all I can say is that this is eventually determined by your taste and this song is to my taste. A criticism I accept about this song (which does not apply to the other songs here), is that it may sound hollow, as if it misses some more sounds filling it, like there are instruments not present, that should be. Maybe this problem could have been reslved in the making of this album. Another thing is that towards the 17th minute it sounds as if the songs ends and then it reemerges sounding like a different song altogether. This is not a problem, but why not separate it to two songs?
The second song, Linceul, is a blurry hazy song made up of a synth playing continuous chords and Roselyne speaking/singing with it. This song functions more a border between the first song and the rest of the album which is different in style and so to allow us to understand that we are about to listen to something else. It may sound as filler and to me it is not particularly interesting. It is quite short (almost 4 minutes) and in comparison with the other tracks, it should get minor attention.
Deregeneration is an instrumental and it is a more dynamic track, original with much more active guitar and keyboards. The music keeps on changing moods and shape during this one and Nil comes up with new twists and adds more flavours to it all the time. The music switches from calm and heavenly to distortion guitar lead with a scary atmosphere enhanced by the keyboards. In this track you hear well all the instruments players and their playing abilities. There is no extravaganza and bombastic playing, but rather an elegant show of capabilities. This is also true regarding the next track. This track Nil shows a slight tendency towards RIO. This is varied and original music.
198 is another instrumental and here like in the first track they begin softly and quietly without drums and they switch to a full blown song after about 40 seconds. Like in Deregeneration, the composition here is original and varied with many contradicting moods within it. In its concept it resembles the previous track and it is as good.
Abandon is a good song and has a sort of free-jazz feel in some parts. What I appreciate most here is the shifts from disharmonic to harmonic tunes, greatly aided by Roselyne’s voice. The songs’ ending is superbly done.
Derives is a repetitive musical part, around which the keyboards, drums and Roselyne’s voice revolve and add their enriching elements to it. She only sings at the very end, when the music begins to fade. It is a fitting closing track.
Nil knows how to create captivating original and interesting music. They put in it different ingredients that seem maybe to contradict each other, but the result is excellent and the music is beautiful. This album has enriched me and given me much pleasure and I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Make sure to check out the related bands Thork and Syrinx.