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Release Date: 
Friday, July 13, 2018
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A very productive outfit from Hungary is Nagaarum, a solo-project by In Vacuo / GuilThee’s Gábor Tóth. In less than a decade, Nagaarum released fifteen full lengths and some splits (with the likes of Astru or Dreams After Death). In case of interest, there are some that have been featured on this site: D.I.M. ( (2016) or 2017’s Homo Maleficus ( Check those out for more background information about the guy behind the project, or the outfit itself.

Anyway, once again via NGC Prod. and via Aesthetic Death, Nagaarum return with their sole official recording from 2018 (seriously?!), simply called Apples. It appears in a nice (really beautiful artwork!) digipack edition (500 copies, if I’m not mistaken), and everything was done by Gábor with little assistance of Betty Varga (co-production and female voices; she worked with Gábor before for both Nagaarum and GuilThee) and Roland Szabó (narration, as well as the English translation). The result is an experience that takes seventy adventurous minutes.

A short explanation about the title (short, for I come back to some more details later): gravity, the legendary apple (not the one from the Garden of Eden, not the poisonous one from Snow White, but just the regular, sometimes tasty piece of fruit, full of vitamins B, C and E – oops, I’m letting myself go) falling from the tree on the ground instead of floating through the air, Isaac Newton and laws of physics. No, I am not going to teach you about gravitation and the history of some (great) scientists from the 17th (and 18th) century – I am not smart enough for that…

Apples is like a (scientific) concept, divided into two parts, Spiritual Birth and Become A Savant, both subdivided into six titles. The Spiritual Birth side starts with Middle Age, which is a gloomy, somewhat haunting and ritualistic piece of Dark Ambient, which nicely sets the tone for what’s next to come. The first metalized piece is Isaac, which goes on in the vein of the former material, yet without sounding like ‘once again the same’ at all. No, this is like a next step, the result of a continuous evolution. Isaac (about Mr. Newton, for your information; also his co-scientists [and rivals] Hooke and Halley are part of the game…; where’s Wren???) is Doom, it is dark and melancholic, atmospheric and mesmerizing. Hypnotic chants, a heavy rhythm section and pushing leads characterise the first half of the track, and after a short ambient intermezzo with some spoken words, the track explodes, evolving into a high-tech and harsh, yet still melodious piece of elegance. so many layers, so many details, there is so much to experience. The progressive character from the past has been balanced in a better way than ever before, without turning into ridiculousness or exaggeration. Great! next track, Celestial Mechanism, is, like the intro, an instrumental intermezzo (okay, Middle Age is not an intermezzo, but I am referring to the approach, the style). It mingles elements of Dark Ambient, Drone and Post-Ritual Music (indeed), being both hypnotic and intriguing. Prism, then again, opens little psychedelic, even proggy, with bizarre string picking and jazzy drum patterns, and throughout the track, that weird character increases when getting louder and harsher. Veiled in an avantgarde mist, this is enormously complex and, at the same time, well-structured. Damn, there is so much going on, there are so many elements, so many dimensions on this album. But as said, despite an enormous complexity, eclectic and cacophonous from time to time, it does not sound ironically exaggerated or over-the-top. And so the story goes on…

Variation is one of the keywords, along with intelligent song-writing, hazardous experimentation, open-mindedness, majesty and creativity. That variety goes further than the wide range of styles used (see further), yet it has to do as well with the balance in between intensity and integrity, the confrontation of enlightenment and obscurity, and the ingenious atmosphere that breathes a concept, a story, a history. Besides, Nagaarum uses a gigantic scala of instruments; even mouth harp (Jew’s harp), noise and samples are used to spice things up…

Elements from Doom, Black, Dark and (hints of) Industrial Metal, from Post-Rock and Alternative, from Industrial, Drone, Ambient, and from Jazz and Progressive Music; all of it is part of the whole, conceived in a mostly natural, organic way. Apples is ambitious and well-thought, and to my opinion by far the most complete and convincing Nagaarum album to date. No further comment, except for this: recommended!