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Naevus : Heavy Burden

A very strong return from veterans Naevus, and a worthy first purchase of the year for any Trad Doom fan.

After a hiatus of thirteen years, between 1999 and 2012, Germany's Naevus return with their first album since 1998's Rise Above release, 'Sun Meditation'. After the passing of 18 years, the chaps are older and wiser with families and responsibilities. The world, for better or for worse, is a changed place now, so perhaps unsurprisingly, 'Heavy Burden' is certainly a very different animal to its more youthful 20th century predecessor. The question long-time fans will ask is, after such a lengthy absence, can old fires be rekindled sufficiently to create a notable 21st Century Doom album?

Certainly, 'Heavy Burden' gets off to an extremely strong start, beginning with an ominous Trad Doom riff, clean vocals and a memorable, infectious chorus that will have you have you nodding your head, tapping your foot, or otherwise rocking out before you even know you're doing it. As an opener, it's immediately effective in assuring the listener that Naevus are back and they mean business. Some excellent riffing, a killer solo and powerful vocals from Uwe Groebel, all underpinned by a super tight rhythm section, make it difficult to comprehend that this is Naevus' first album for 18 years. They are certainly showing no signs of ring rust.

'Heavy Burden' is an album that oozes maturity and a sense of finding one's place in a world that can often appear to be careering out of control. Lyrically, it touches often on the darker aspects of life, which can be, as we know, a Heavy Burden, but also savours the good stuff, most notably on 'Dancing in the Summer Rain', which, despite its spectacularly un-Doom title, is a rollicking Trad Doom ode to the joys of life's simple pleasures with its chorus of 'We're drinking beer and dancing naked in the summer rain/we found the truth in happiness'.

Musically, every performance on the album is tight, with some instant classic Doom riffs and some impressive shredding. A Trad Doom/Stoner vibe is maintained with some bluesy flourishes and nods to' 70s hard rock throughout, with 'Future Footprints' perhaps encapsulating all these elements at their best. With some fine philosophical lyrics, another catchy chorus, and some pounding Doom riffing, it highlights the revitalised Naevus at their best. There are a couple of points on 'Heavy Burden' where the intensity dips a little, but overall every track is strong enough to keep the listener interested.

The aptly named finale, 'Troubled Times' rounds off the album in reflective, acoustic style in what is one of the best closing tracks of an album I've heard in some time. Ending with Uwe's assertion that 'we all need to change the world', it's a sentiment few could disagree with, and brings 'Heavy Burden' to a mellow and thoughtful conclusion. Despite a couple of tracks that suffer slightly in comparison to some of the finer moments of the album, this is a very strong, seasoned return from these Doom veterans, and certainly a worthy first purchase of the year for any fan of Traditional Doom.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Heavy Burden
2. Black Sun
3. Naked
4. Dead Summer Day
5. The Whistling Tree
6. Cloudless Sunstreams
7. Future Footprints
8. Timeless Illusion
9. Dancing In The Summer Rain
10. The Dwarves Revenge
11. Troubled Times (Outro)

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Naevus bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-01-13 by Nick Harkins
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