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Neshiima – Beware Of Gifts | Album Review

As Neshiima use a Japanese myth for the inspiration behind their concept mini-album, we go inside to see if they’ve nailed it. Is this the next ‘Tommy’?


Source: Album Artwork

These five Glaswegians may have only been together in their current lineup since January 2015 but that doesn’t deter them from being ambitious for their sophomore release. The concept mini-album Beware Of Gifts follows the 8th Century myth of Urashima Taro, a Japanese fisherman who rescues a turtle that happens to be the Dragon Princess Otohime and is rewarded by a visit to Ryūjin, the Dragon God, under the sea. As the story goes, after his three-day visit Taro returns to his village to find he is now 300 years in the future.

Atmospheric and breakdown-heavy opener ‘Beware of Gifts From a Dragon Princess’ sets the scene before ‘Those Who Suffer’ displays the band’s sound in full as they shift between rap-core and straight-up metalcore, showing off lead singer Liam Hesslewood’s clean vocals with discordant harmonies reminiscent of early Fightstar. ‘Above The Storm’ has a distinctly Japanese and minimalistic feel but, even with Mike Shinoda-style rapping, this becomes repetitive and is little more than filler.

Tracks four and seven act as interludes between the three sections of the album, with ‘Taken By The Tide’ feeling like a pantomime scene change before ‘The Cycle’ and ‘Become The Ocean’ further display their blend of technical metal and hip-hop without much variation. ‘So Easy’ acts as the second interlude and is one of the few highlights, with an early 2000s nu-metal vibe. Closing this mini-album with ‘Play Your Part’ Neshiima revert back to the opening opus with the obligatory breakdowns and fusion of clean vocals and hardcore screams.

While it’s admirable for a band in their infancy to be taking on a task that most bands only consider after producing a vast back catalogue, this concept album missed the mark a little. It would always be a challenge telling this story in 25 minutes and they’re hindered further by the lyrics being quiet in the mix leaving the tale to get lost in a mess of breakdowns and almost nonsensical rapping. Musically, the quintet are nothing new but the attempt provides an enjoyable experience for fans of Funeral For A Friend, The One Hundred, Hacktivist and the like. Alternatively, the album is also available in comic book form so perhaps that will enhance the experience?

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