Release year: 2021
Label: Non Posse Mori
They’re back, those magnificent envoys from the stars, Idolos from Venus. The twosome, whose terrestrial manifestation is located somewhere in France, have thus far released one EP, Ahi Cab (reviewed here). Theirs is a rather unconventional concept where Maya mythology, ancient astronauts and an ageless, stellar message to contemporary times unite – certainly nothing you see every day in black metal! Our interview with Idolos sheds some light upon the concept, and is worth a read to get up to speed.
Now, with all the catching up done, time to dig into the second transmission from the envoys out of time and space. Náa is the continuation to Ahi Cab, and is largely a rather logical next step for the project: it does not see Idolos make a radical break from the debut, but further develops many of the ideas and does to some extent renew the sound.
One of my points of criticism for the first EP was that I felt a gap between the musical expression and the concept: I dug the concept, and I dug the music, but I felt they didn’t quite meet in the middle. On Náa, this gap may not have been completely bridged, but it is considerably smaller. Using in themselves rather small elements and tricks, such as a bit of spacy synth here and there, or more diverse vocals, or just a bit more emphasis on atmospheric sections, there is a certain hard-to-define but undeniable “stellar” element to the music.
Perfect case in point: the conclusion of The Miracle Of The Maize, final track on the EP. The foggy black metal guitar fades into a bright, calm synth, and you can with your mind’s eye imagine someone standing in a field staring with awe into the night sky. It’s a small section, lasting a mere 30 seconds, but it’s small details like this which lend Náa a more mysterious, cosmic feel than its predecessor.
By and large, Idolos’ expression remains the same: atmospheric black metal with raw lo-fi tendencies as well as leanings towards post-black metal. However, even here, the project has taken small but notable steps in a more individual direction. Where on Ahi Cab I noted some nods towards the raw-but-melodic “classic Finnish sound” (Satani Warmaster etc.), on Náa the same underlying recipe results in far less pronounced associations. Again, the devil is in the details, and Idolos haven’t gone and changed any major facet of their music. It’s in the small things, such as the tasteful use of background synths or slightly more ambitious compositions. The result isn’t a major shift; instead, a succesful readjustment or development of sound.
Ultimately, qualitatively speaking there is not a huge difference between Ahi Cab and Náa. In that field, Idolos haven’t risen to a whole new level. Which isn’t a bad thing by any means, considering Ahi Cab was more than adequate. However, conceptually and artistically, I feel that Náa is a small but significant step in the right direction. It takes the already solid basic foundation present on the debut, and succesfully expands upon it. The result is identifiable as the same entity, but with more own character.
As far as concept and thematics go, Idolos remain delightfully left-field in the modern black metal scene. This probably does not sit too well with more “traditionalist” people. Others, however, are urged to at least give Náa a chance: thematically intriguing and musically more than competent, I find Idolos to be one of the more interesting newer black metal acts.
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