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Cóndor, from Bogotá, Colombia, play doom metal in one of the genre’s most broad forms. At heart they play in a death/doom style not too dissimilar to what the Peaceville Three did during the early 90s, only without the keyboards and violins. It’s the kind of death/doom that is stripped down to its very core, revealing its dirty, melancholic heart. Needless to say, it’s epic, sorrowful, and as heavy as a ton of bricks. Nadia demonstrates that there’s more to their sound than mere Peaceville worship though, as the band shift through different styles of doom metal with ease.
Whilst the majority of the album is rooted in that classic sound and style, there are plenty of moments that set Cóndor apart from simple hero worship. At times, the band look beyond the regular death/doom influences for inspiration, and go back to the sounds that originally gave birth to metal and defined it. Around the 3:30 mark of the opening title track, the mournful, epic sound of the band morphs in to something heavily reminiscent of the likes of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath at their most bluesy. There’s lots of death/doom out there, and lots of bands playing classic, 70s style doom, but this is the first time I’ve heard the two combined in a single song, and it’s surprisingly successful.
Then there’s other moments, such as the middle section of second track “Lector In Fabula”, where the rhythm section ease off and give the guitars free reign to create something almost cinematic, with some real guitar heroics. And then within moments the band are playing something at tempos all-but unheard of for doom metal, with a black metal influence being shown. Later tracks even display a good understanding of funeral doom, crawling along at the most desolate of paces before seamlessly changing styles again, such as from around the six minute mark of “Aure Entuluva”, which seems to shift styles a half dozen times before coming to its close. Each change feels natural, and they’re so seamless it’s easy not to notice them. And that’s to say nothing of “Eowyn”, a well placed instrumental track with some guitars that are totally removed from metal, yet fit the album perfectly. A lot of doom metal is content to simply exist and plod along to the point of monotony, but there’s enough variety and changes in tempo and style throughout Nadia to show that Cóndor are not happy with that. Doom metal is not a genre that lends itself to creation and innovation easily, yet it comes across as if that’s what Cóndor are striving for – to explore the boundaries of the style, and maybe to push them back bit by bit. No surprise for a band that lists German philosopher Martin Heidegger amongst its influences, as well as Finnish composer Jean Sibelius in addition to more typical metal bands.
The only real criticism I can level at the album is that of the production; it has a nice, earthly, analog quality to it, but there are times when I wish it sounded that bit more powerful, especially during the slower, heavier sections. This is most apparant on the final track “El Roble Sera Mi Trono Eterno”, when the band’s attempts to use dual vocals are hobbled by the production. It’s a real shame, as it shows great promise and must be killer live, but doesn’t quite come across on record. The quiet section building up to the song’s finale also gets lost, making the closer not as strong and effective as you sense it could have been.
Ultimately, though, there’s a lot to praise about Nadia. Cóndor display some very strong song-writing skills and a real talent for blending what are usually very diverse styles of music. It’s available for free download via their Bandcamp, and any fan of doom metal is heavily recommended to give it a listen.