MEKA NISM – The War Inside
While the opening title track is a serviceable marriage of the two seemingly incompatible styles, the next two songs are pure gold, if only for the masterful, almost cinematic way the innocence/rage is handled. For on "These Years of Silent Screams" (with the Killswitch Engagesque bridge) I can actually FEEL the pain in Meka’s voice, and I mean both her cleans and growls, and it does not hurt that it has the best melody on the album. But is the following anthem on living for today, "Trailblazer" worse? Both tracks are the two out of the three highlights of this EP in vocals, music and overall structure and I freely admit I can listen to both repeatedly and not get bored. Lyrically, it seems to me like the former is about some horrible domestic abuse ordeal (my lips are so tight/I’m so tight/intentions are shattered/make all the angels cry!) while the latter is the same protagonist emerging triumphant (fight for your own life/I have begun to take ANOTHER way, to live another day/I’m breathing! shackled in my own darkness!) And when I hear Meka sing "Why do we tear ourselves INTO PIECES" I get chills down my spine EVERY SINGLE TIME. If this is not autobiographical then, at the very least, Meka becomes the protagonist in the way she vocally emphatizes with her. And those keyboards in the chorus! There’s something seriously magical about these numbers and Meka is like 99.9% of it.
"Arrows of Alchemy" while good, doesn’t quite make the same impression on me (save for the amazing Meka’s vocals and outstanding solo) or maybe that’s the idea, to make those other two truly stand out? In any case, the riffs near the Killswitch Engage metalcoric quality which does not have to be necessarily a bad thing ("Incarnate" slays!) unless, of course, you happen to be a fairly new band, which Meka Nism happens to be.
Now, "Black Sky" is another gem, though, particularly for the piano, it has more in common with Evanescence (My Immortal) than Arch Enemy, with hands down the most beautiful and most versatile cleans on the ep and the melody recalling Dark Tranquility (themselves likely inspired by Evanescence on "Fiction" album). Compositionally and vocally (!) this is probably the most impressive song on the ep. Lyrically, it seems like the protagonist survivor is facing some difficulties in overcoming past horrors (it is not over yet/switchblade/betrayed/nightshade/shadow will hide it!) so this is a semi-happy, if a hopeful ending.
And then it is over, and I do hope this is not the last I heard from these guys, for I am seriously spellbound by Meka (Nism).