Review: Neolith – I Am The Way

The Polish metallers of Neolith already formed back in 1991. However, I hadn’t heard about them until now. Seven years after their formation they released debut full-length Igne Nature Renovabitur Integra. After Igne Natura Renovabitur Integra four full-length albums followed, of which I Am The Way is the latest and fifth Neolith full-length album. They released I Am The Way in November last year. Neolith’s line-up is completely different compared to their line-up in 1991 though. However, three of Neolith’s current bandmembers are already part of Neolith for quite a long time: vocalist Levi since 1993, guitarist Conrad since 1995 and keyboardist U joined in 1996. Bass player Kriss and guitarist Bolus joined later, in 2012. The Neolith member that joined most recently is drummer Daniel Rutkowski, he joined the band in 2018.

I’ll start with him, drummer Daniel Rutkowski, because he is very clearly present on I Am The Way. He takes care of a very big part of the heavily pounding part of this album. In each song he delivers heavily chopping drums, regularly supported by pummeling blastbeats. It can’t always be called very special, with a few moments, such as during the slower first part of Hear Ye, Hear Ye! and in Let the Heavens Rejoice, as exceptions, but he’ll surely give you a boost of energy while listening to this album.

That energy doesn’t only come from Daniel’s drums though, but also comes from the at some moments different guitar lines and the, be it quite minimal, rhythm changes. Those rhythm changes may be quite minimal, with the aforementioned songs Hear Ye, Hear Ye! and Let the Heavens Rejoice as exceptions, but those are very well timed, such as can be heard in The Abu Hymn, In the Name of Umamu and Ask and Thou Shalt Receive, making this album in its entirety a bit stronger than when only pounding very heavily.

You probably noticed that I already mentioned the songs Hear Ye, Hear Ye! and Let the Heavens Rejoice twice and, not exactly coincidental, both times in being exceptions. Add the song Irarazakku to that and something else stands out on those three songs: the combination of heavily pounding, especially due to Daniel’s drums, and a more atmospheric vibe, especially by Conrad’s and Bolus’ guitars, is worked out very well in those three songs.

While Conrad’s and Bolus’ guitars sound quite atmospheric in those three songs, in album closer Let the Heavens Rejoice they combine that with more chuggy guitars. On the rest of the album the guitars mainly produce a more constant buzz-sawing  sound, a few examples of this can be heard in The Abu Hymn, Wanderer Who Bestows, Ask and Thou Shalt Receive and the titletrack. In addition to that I Am The Way certainly doesn’t lack guitar solos, each song at least contains one of those.

Levi’s vocals fit very well inside all this. His main vocal-style does remind me quite much of Behemoth’s Nergal though, to give you an example of this be sure to check The Abu Hymn and Irarazakku. However, in those two examples he also delivers a grunt (The Abu Hymn) or a filthy scream (Irarazakku) at some moments.

It’s not that Neolith delivered something very special and refreshing with I Am The Way, but that isn’t always what’s necessary. What they did deliver is a very well executed, powerful album full of heavy black/death metal that’s perfect for your neck muscles.

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