Fresh off a stormer of an afterparty set at UK Tech Metal Festival this year, Glasgow tech-hop rockers Neshiima are poised for a big end to the summer. If you’re wondering what tech-hop is, it is technical metal and hip hop (I came up with it on the spot, apologies if someone did that already) and while it’s not necessarily the newest concept in the world it is certainly one that Neshiima do with flair and confidence.
Forthcoming EP Beware Of Gifts features eight rhythmic tracks that suggest they were yet another perfectly suitable for the demographic that Tech Fest craves. Not to discredit neither organiser or act, as we all know Tech Fest is awesome and that, with Beware Of Gifts to go by, Neshiima will probably be making the rounds a bit more. Featuring an abundance of groove, Neshiima prove they are capable of perfecting the core of rhythmic modern technical metal. The portions of riffs on display are excellent and will put a smile on any djent fan’s face with some of their creative passages. Songs like “The Cycle” begin with the polyrhythmic dexterity on both kit and strings, and they expand further with some very well crafted atmospheric melodies over it.
And it doesn’t stop there; arguably one of their more notable qualities from Beware Of Gifts is the abilities of vocalist Liam Hesslewood. Whether he is spitting a rapid Mike Shinoda-esque break – a notable example is “Become The Ocean”, or echoing the dense material with some deep-ridged growls (pure metal fans, a word of warning, they are few and far between). Or for the majority of the record, engaging some harmonious melodic singing. His clean vocals suit the tone of the record comfortably, particularly in “Taken By The Tide”, which is – concise with most modern technical metal albums these days – a dare I say beautiful interlude between some of the band’s heaviest recorded material.
Traces of alternative metal like Sevendust and Ill Nino make an appearance as well (“Become The Ocean”) where Neshiima’s crunchy and bass-heavy tone enhances these slower, heavier portions. It has become clearer that as the record progresses, more ideas have been explored that bear resemblance to some of SikTh and Periphery, which is also very much accepted when it comes to technical metal. It doesn’t feel one-dimensional, as in each song there’s something to remember it by, whether it’s riffs, vocals or some excellent transitions between instruments. Either way, this is a very strong record.
Perhaps what makes it interesting is the concept behind it. I’m an avid reader of concept stories and themes, particularly that of Japan (I read a lot of Haruki Murakami) and Beware Of Gifts relates to the Japanese myth of “Urashima Taro”. This ancient Japanese legend tells the story of a man (the aforementioned Taro) who rescues a turtle and is subsequently taken to see the Dragon God Ryujin in the depths of the ocean who wishes to reward him. Upon his return to his village, although he was underwater for 3 days, Taro has found himself 300 years into the future. This key concept in Beware Of Gifts, emphasises the relationships between mortal beings and deities that become apparent in the cycle of humanity, and as such, the phrase “Beware Of Gifts From A Dragon’s Princess” (track 1 on the album) bears resemblance to Taro’s opening of his box, which contains his old age. Confused? Read some Japanese folklore like I do every now and then and immerse yourself. It’s hard to put into words. Either way, I am glad others know of this myth and gladly enjoy the record a bit more.
At face value, musically Beware Of Gifts is suitable for listening time and time again as it is tonally quaint and not oversaturated in any way. Pure technical metal fans may struggle at first, but the musicality behind it is there in buckets, and Neshiima are definitely on the right track for further interest and attention from this listener.
The band will headline Stereo in Glasgow for their EP release show on the 5th September, supported by Sithu Aye, The Sun Explodes and MILK.
- Beware Of Gifts From A Dragon Princess
- Those Who Suffer
- Above The Storm
- Taken By The Tide
- The Cycle
- Become The Ocean
- So Easy
- Play Your Part
Liam Hesslewood – Vocals
Calum Stansfield – Guitar
Craig Rankin – Bass
Andrew MacDonald – Guitar
Danny Cameron – Drums