The Nain Rouge
The Self Defeatist

I have no qualms admitting that along with Halo of Flies and Deepsend Records, Michigan’s Saw Her Ghost Records, despite their relatively unprolific schedule is one of my favorite truly independent record labels. However, their 2010 roster―that included odd releases by the likes of Hellas Mounds and Lost Coves―didn’t really tickle my fancy per se, until The Nain Rouge dropped their second (and final) full-length album about halfway through the year. But, as is common with such small one man labels, I didn’t get the CDs until recently…luckily The Self Defeatist was worth the wait.

This Detroit act play a form of sprawling angular hardcore metal that culls from the likes of Coalesce and Botch but throws in plenty of melody and some Mastodon-ish time changes and percussive backbone. It’s a real pity they called it quits after this release, as they look to have really found a balance and groove that could have seen them rise up the ranks and compare with a lot of the current bands in the scene (i.e Black Market Activities roster).

With expected musical skill, The Nain Rouge deftly maneuver their way around crunchy, grungy jagged poly rhythms and well placed moments of more moody, introspective, but still harsh melodies. The perfect example is the album’s first two tracks where the lurching opener “Lovitz” bleeds subtly into the more somber, jangly but still stern throes of “Saying Goodbye” and finally to “(I Am) …The Forgotten Sun”.

The same transition occurs for the Mastodon-ish “Saliva Divinorum” and “(We Are a)… Collapsing Star”, but the band takes their introspection even further for the stand out follow- up, “The Storm”. It ebbs, builds and peaks like a post-rock number. The clean vocals on this track are well done, offering a little change up from the gruff roars and throaty shouts that fill the rest of the material. “Distraction” returns the lurch and staggering caustics, which the band is also convincing at.

The album ends with a romping cover of Nirvana’s “Paper Cuts”, showing yet another facet of The Nain Rouge that we, unfortunately, won’t be able to further experience due to their recent demise.

per se
[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
January 17th, 2011

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