Blast Rites: Nak’ay – Divine Atrophy & Seized Review

What’s better than a new Nak’ay EP?

Two new Nak’ay EPs, mmmk’ay!

Emerging into the world on the same day, Divine Atrophy* and Seized are effectively fraternal twins – born of the same parents, sharing many similar characteristics, yet each with some distinct and slightly different personalities, sharing a middle ground but from differing sides. (If you pony up for the physical version, released through Deterioration’s Shattered Dreams Productions, you get conjoined twins – both EPs on one cassette, and all divisions save sides A or B are rendered moot. There’s a link to the Bandcamp below, if tapes are your thing.)

Taken on a pretty superficial level, Divine Atrophy feels like it leans more towards the former half of Nak’ay’s death/grind approach – even the cover art is markedly more “death metal” than that of its sibling, what with the dripping mass of bones and claws and sinew vs. the less gruesome (and yet equally disturbing) weird-pics-in-red-boxes aesthetic of Seized. Both EPs exhibit death metal trappings, but again, different faces on a similar body construct…

Release date: March 21, 2023. Label: Bandcamp / Shattered Dreams Productions.
Well over half of Divine Atrophy’s whopping four-minute running time is devoted to its opening number, “Constant,” which is as straight-out a death metal track as we’re likely to ever get from a grindcore band. Bubbling up with an ominous opening riff, “Constant” belies Nak’ay’s typical all-out assault by trudging along in death/doom territory for its first minute, guitars dancing around one another in a somber melody, before the it kicks in hard with a chugging main riff, a driving tempo, and a new set of interwoven melodies. Follow-up “Gasping For Purpose” falls into similar territory, as does the title track. In proper Nak’ay fashion, each is surprisingly riffy for such short blasts of bashing fun, guitars turning and twisting around above frantic pounding drums. The production is grimy, raw, rough around the edges in a wonderfully grinding way. Screeching to a halt in just under five minutes of total run-time, Divine Atrophy closes with a solid cover of Brujeria’s “Santa Lucia,” a furnace-blast of classic death/grind, a little more pared-down than typical Nak’ay, but delivered with bloodthirsty aplomb.

And then there’s Seized, which is a more typically Nak’ay-an affair, equally raw and rough as Atrophy, but standing on the grindier side of the divide, filled with the band’s regularly razor-edged riffing and relentless rhythm. “Order” sets the tone, and the title track hammers it home, with some thrash-tinted riffage in the midst, sharper and more vicious than the gnarled and grimy production would ever give it credit for. (For the record – or for both of them, really – the production on either EP is not a detriment, though raw and grimy are both appropriate descriptors – grindcore is not pretty; this is not pretty; that’s the point, and it works.) More thrashing runs through the veins of “Scopolamine,” while the end of “Serpentine” lives up to its name with some tightly-coiled riffs, noisy guitar squalls, and snaky bass lines. And finally “Murder” scorches the ground, all low-guttural death growls atop savage carving guitars, blasting sections glued together with a quick groovy thrash bit between the pounding chaos, devolving into a noisy crash and echoing decay…

There’s not much information that I’ve been able to find on these two EPs, aside from that they exist, and then, of course, my subjective (but obviously correct) opinion that they totally kick ass. One day, the pair of them just appeared in my Bandcamp feed because of all the previous Nak’ay-age I’ve purchased, but hey, gift horses and mouths and so on, so I’m sure as hell not complaining. Nak’ay has a deserved reputation for a decade’s worth of quality savagery, and these two same-day offerings certainly follow suit.

You really can’t go wrong with Nak’ay, I’ve found – and now there’s even more.

*a minor note: two songs from Divine Atrophy are repeats from 2022’s split with Spaniards Sacthu, so that one’s really only half-new, but since I’ve yet to track down a physical copy of that earlier split, it’s all new to me.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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