Past is Prologue — the newly available debut album from the Singaporean screamo group Naedr (pronounced nadir) — feels majestically devastating. It’s somber and stunningly intense.
Heartache-riddled melodies rush through the album, while Naedr perform with searing and relentless intensity, which makes the listening experience feel somewhat like rushing desperately through a rainstorm, trying to find somewhere — anywhere — for shelter. The instrumentation itself clearly feels compellingly powerful, translating these raw feelings into an immersive state of being. The rhythms feel emotionally derived, as if funneling moments of soul-rending tension into music. The songs feel direct and startling in their scorching emotional ferocity, carrying the stern persistence of surges of heaving pain as circumstances and surrounding mental security might seem to fall apart.
With a comparatively slightly slower but still powerfully pummeling progression, the opening portion of “The Tyrant” places the majestic devastation at the center of Past is Prologue in an unmistakable spotlight. That particular song gets gritter later on, with more abrasive rhythms taking over, while other moments — like the immediately preceding track “The Prodigal Son” — dive headfirst into truly staggering physical intensity. The drama on this album feels richly genuine and intensely captivating — “The Sorrow” moves through a brisker opening before a suddenly staggering, stop-and-start middle and a confidently rather pummeling end. Consistently, Past is Prologue sounds totally and rather devastatingly focused.
The band’s entire presentation feels rather lush, as the sound carries an unmistakable helping of rich, earnest dynamics, as if Naedr translated the soul-grating, somber progressions of gentler styles into their stormy music. “Asunder” places this tendency on full display with a sudden couple of minutes of significantly slower tempoed (and unmistakably powerful) music, and “Disquiet” repeats this slow immersion into scorching emotion.
The music’s edges feel graceful rather than overwhelmingly sharp and piercing, like a softened form of hardcore in which the edges have been smoothed without losing the underlying raging intensity. Naedr leave this raging emotional intensity on totally full display across their work, like pressing on especially far into some emotional fog that has settled ominously over the horizon, trying to account for the malaise with a genuine, honest look. “Gehenna,” the album’s unmistakably attention-demanding closing track, leans more towards traditional screamo, with lightning-fast rhythms with a kick that deliver a feeling like peering into the mirror as one’s reflection slowly contorts into twisted screams.
Past is Prologue is available via a bunch of great labels, including Miss The Stars Records, Zegema Beach Records, Larry Records, and others — see a complete list on the album’s Bandcamp page at this link.
Listen to Past is Prologue below!