Spotless Minds

The Eternal Light of the Unconscious Mind is a slightly murky concept centering on dreams and the internal architecture of the mind but from the familiar yet re-tooled title to the songwriting it's not entirely clear why this is interesting. The lack of clarity could, of course, be the obvious point the Andorrans NAMI are trying to make as dreams mirror this trait. However, there's none of the mind-bending disorientation or unexpectedness of dreams (my dreams at least...) as NAMI deal in plodding metal augmented by, at times appalling, synths and post-rock textures - in fact, opener The Beholders features all of these elements.

Ariadna pinches the riff from Tool's Schism and perhaps it's the American band NAMI most look to for inspiration. Now, Tool can certainly be pompous but they also have or had a streak of originality and semblance of a sense of humour. Can't be so sure too much of that is at work here. There is ambition though, the band attempt to bend their rigid metal into different shapes - Hunter's Dormancy adds a bit of drone, soaring keys and melody to the usual drudge. Elsewhere, vocalist Roger Andreu really throws himself into The Animal and the Golden Throne taking a detour from the usual clean/growl duality as the song itself rests on a single guitar line and piano accompaniment and it's all the better for it - channeling some latter day, ghostly Opeth records.

It's a shame then that after The Animal and the Golden Throne it's over to more straightforward atmospheres and riffs on twin songs Bless of Faintness and Hope in Faintness. The more expansive songs, including the crashing waves of sax infused closer The Dream Eater, are certainly more interesting than the opening trio of head-down, rough guitar tracks making The Eternal Light... a record of divergent sounds.

Throughout the record the haughty concept is a vague enough one to allow for all sorts of imagery, mythology and earnest declarations typical of many post-metal bands but a lyric sheet may have enlightened me further. Other bands have utilised an overarching concept to good effect though, AMENRA's Mass V or Cult of Luna on the modernist monochrome of Vertikal, for example. As it stands The Eternal Light of the Unconscious Mind is too often simply a collection of serious riffs, growls and ambiance cloaked in a veil of intellectual exploration.