The third album from Spain's NAHEMAH (and first for Lifeforce), "The Second Philosophy", is an intriguing effort. It is the kind of album that one can appreciate it for the musicianship and song dynamics, even though it leaves the listener thinking that there needs to be something more to seal the deal. The style falls along the lines of European-style doom/ethereal metal with gothic touches and a melodically driven approach. The result of the 60 minutes of music on offer is complex and pleasing to the ear, but just a little lacking in ingredients that would turn it from a good album into a great one.
As for comparisons, the growling vocal sections and the heavier moments bring to mind, at least to some extent, bands like NOVEMBER'S DOOM and some of the more progressive characteristics of an OPETH. Mixing aggression (heavy riffing, doom/death vocals) with clean vocals, atmospheric keyboard work, and melodies that do not necessarily stick to the ribs but are relatively catchy, are closer to acts like KATATONIA, ANATHEMA. Still, none of the aforementioned bands is a perfect comparison, as NAHEMAH does deserve accolades for an approach that may be familiar, but still distinctive and with an identity all its own. It is the use of the clean vocals that are delivered in a sweet, crooning fashion that tends to furrow the brow, and only because it leaves one questioning how well it works, rather than simply enjoying the vocals themselves. That's a tad bit troubling to these ears.
The album does succeed because of the overall lushness of the arrangements and an indefinable beauty. Incidentally, "Today Sunshine Ain't the Same" is the one track that stands out for its organ melody, groovy riff and bass line, and a fairly catchy melody. In the final analysis, diehard fans of the style will undoubtedly enjoy "The Second Philosophy". The main problem is that when an album with melody as a central component does not leave the melodies of individual tracks imbedded in the brain after the listening session ends, then it becomes clear that the job remains unfinished. Even so, "The Second Philosophy" is a decent effort with many attractive qualities. It is simply a matter of the vague feeling one gets when a certain "something" is missing. And that certain "something" would have most likely made the score a 7.5 or higher, rather than an above average 6.5.