Jun 2014 16

N3VOA - SolitudeN3VOA
Category: Electro / EBM
Album: Solitude
Stars: 2
Blurb: From its lyrical shortcomings to its adherence to the standards of dark electro/EBM, this Brazilian artist’s debut is full of emotion but lacking in much depth.


 

Having honed his musical abilities as a drummer for a death metal band before switching to guitars and eventually keyboards, Diego Bittencourt certainly has a lot going for him with this debut album under his N3VOA moniker. With production assistance from Neuroactive’s Jarkko Tuohimaa, Solitude exhibits every bit of passion its title might convey; as the album is dedicated to his late father, the album teems with electrified bittersweet atmospheres that evoke Bittencourt’s emotions of loss and longing. Unfortunately, it is only with the benefit of this context that the album manages to make any sort of impression as its dark industrial overtones and rather typical mix of danceable beats and rich but ultimately familiar synth tones are tried and true to the point of convention.

While the presence of the occasional piano, especially in the opening title track, and more so in the slow and introspective “Deceiver,” does add a nice touch, every pulsating bass line and sharp melody sound very passé. Even in the fluid open of “Still Standing” leading into a punchy and rather catchy bass line amid breakbeats that Paul Oakenfold would be proud of, or the staccato stabs and subsonic warbles of the bouncy instrumental “Stare Down the Ghosts,” can one immediately hear the traces of nearly 20 years of electro-pop/EBM development, with N3VOA offering virtually nothing to the sonic table beyond the lyrics; and even in these does the album falter, mainly due to its pervasively dark imagery lacking in any sense of nuance. Not that they need be works of poetry, and it might be forgiven as Bittencourt hails from Brazil so English is likely not his first language, but with lyrics like “Exhale like the air is taking with it the negative toxins” on “Lost,” or “The pain I feel is forever real” on “Faith No More,” one must be thankful for the incoherence in the lyrics granted by the abundance of vocal effects. As such, Bittencourt’s vocal shortcomings also come to the fore as he delivers each song with a standard whispered rasp perhaps more influenced by his metal past, but no less cliché here.

As is to be expected, Tuohimaa’s production certainly helps to make Solitude a rather slick and cold sounding record that does well to convey Diego Bittencourt’s emotional intent; however, this only goes so far as in even the Neuroactive remix of “Solitude” that closes the album out, there is little to distinguish it from the original opening mix beyond its heavier and sharper percussion arrangements. One must certainly feel for Bittencourt as he has clearly infused his most heartfelt thoughts and feelings into his music, but without making any strides past the conventions of the electro/EBM genre and lacking in any lyrical weight, it feels less a profound statement of grief and more a bitter whine.
 
Track list:

  1. Solitude
  2. Punishment
  3. Deceiver
  4. Faith No More
  5. Still Standing
  6. Nothing Last Forever
  7. Stare Down the Ghosts
  8. Cutting Ties
  9. Rise Again
  10. Lost
  11. Solitude (Remix by Neuroactive)

 
N3VOA Website http://www.n3voa.com
N3VOA Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/N3VOA/108268326000057
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
CDBaby
 
2014-05-01
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

2 Comments

  1. El says:

    I completely disagree with this review,I found this album to be very deep,personal,full of emotions,technical as well.Every time I listen to this masterpiece I completely zone out,his music is so relatable..and when it comes to his lyrics,he gives credit to his brother Jonas Bittencourt whom was born and raised in the USA so I don’t know what doesn’t make sense to the reviewer..his lyrics to me sound like some dark poetry.I believe N3voa is the truth and I’m looking forward to listen to his new music!Def recommend this album!

    • Ilker Yücel says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment.
      I can appreciate that the album spoke more to you than it did to me. It’s not that the lyrics didn’t make sense – it was that I didn’t feel they were particularly poetic or interesting, and from the production standpoint, so much of it was drenched in effects that it made it difficult to understand what was being sung without looking in the liner notes. Interesting about his brother – I wasn’t aware of that (and I don’t recall seeing that in the liner notes… perhaps an oversight on my part, for which I apologize), but nonetheless… I didn’t think they were the best lyrics. However, again, they clearly spoke more to you and held more meaning and depth. As well, having heard a great deal of music in this style, I can understand that you feel it’s relatable… it’s familiar, and it’s a style that he does well, but it’s a style that I feel he stuck so well to that it didn’t bring anything new to the table. Not that he had to reinvent the wheel, but I’ve heard so much of it (perhaps a consequence of being a critic, either because I’m jaded or because I hear more than what most people actively seek out on their own).
      In any case, it seems pretty clear that you were the audience that N3VOA was attempting to reach, and for that he deserves credit for doing so. If you discovered the album on your own, I’m glad you disagreed enough to make a comment and start a discussion. If you discovered it because of the ReView, then I’m glad for that as well.
      Thank you again. Wishing you a marvelous day.

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