Posted on by Oran

Nebularis are one of those untamed rising forces in the Dublin metal underground, with their no-nonsense attitude and meticulous approach to the prog metal genre.

When other bands are out there starting moshpits and wrecking the tour bus, Nebularis are in the studio experimenting with their novel sound and creating a legacy that will last when other bands have faded into obscurity.

Their debut album, ‘Exodus – Shattered Earth Saga: Part 1’, is testament to this, and masterful guitarist Mo Sheerin, vocalist Hytham Martin, and drummer Damian Dziennik put together an 8-track opus with Northern Ireland session bassist, Terry McHugh, to firmly stamp their authority on the top table of underground progressive metal prodigies in Ireland.

Opening with a tranquil and instrumentally serene track ‘Tellurian’, Nebularis waste no time in proving that they have the chops for superior songwriting ability. ‘Cataclysm’ is a simplistic riff-driven classic, backed up by fast-paced drums from Dziennik. Sheerin’s guitar-work dazzles as it superfluously shifts from gritty and crunchy palm-muted riff breakdowns, to gliding harmonics.

Martin’s voice however, is a different animal entirely, comprising gruff growls and soaring falsettos behind the very impressive song structure. These talents are not one-trick ponies, as ‘Aurelia’ and ‘Subnautica’ also showcase the immense talent from the trio. But let’s not forget the reputable and respectable talent from McHugh on this record; for a session musician, he has found his calling as a superior member of the reliable musician-for-hire cabal… he would easily be at home as a main member of the group.

Voyager’ tones it down a bit and takes us on a bit of a journey, as the band show us their off-time chops that hold up without missing a beat. Dziennik’s off-pace drumming lends itself heavily to Sheerin and McHughgs over-and-back teamwork on the strings. Martin has the soft-spoken gleam in his lyrics that carry us to the final outro, where he gets to let loose the pent-up energy and showcase his versatility behind the mic. ‘Exodus’ however, kicks us into top gear again with a rip-roaring intro that belongs as an opener for a main stage show.

Martin is the star here as his aggressive growl is allowed to strut its stuff. The notes and pinch harmonics from Sheerin in the bridge fit perfectly and steadfastly proves that you don’t need to shred to be a great guitarist.

Holocene’, however, stands out as my favourite track on the album. I love the breakdowns, the intricate drum sections and headbang-worthy verse riffs that remind us of a heavy metal undercurrent flowing through the veins of this band. The final track, ‘Critias’, slows the pace one last time with a melodics harmony intro backed with a string section supporting Sheerin’s guitar work.

The quiet and soulful lyrics soon give way to a larger-than-life crescendo chorus that comes straight from Martin’s vocal chords, and Dziennik’s drumming pay homage to prog drummers before him, like Danny Carey, or dare I say it, The Professor himself, Neil Peart.

Overall, this is a rock-solid album with something for fans of every metal genre, blending classical melodies with dirty chunks of fury, spattered with harmonies that lets Nebularis stand shoulder to shoulder with any prog metal band out there right now. 4/5

Exodus – Shattered Earth Saga – Part I‘ is out now on all good streaming platforms.

Track of Choice: ‘Holocene
Track List
1. Tellurian
2. Cataclysm
3. Aurelia
4. Subnautica
5. Voyager
6. Exodus
7. Holocene
8. Critias

Shaun Martin 2024