Reviewed in digital format.
Ninika are a droning sludge band featuring Paul Aphid (of Poison Tongue, Degenerate Slug) and the duo behind Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead. This four-track album, or as Ninika title it, an EP, is a single-sided 62-minute cassette – or 31 minutes of sludge. The project combines the harsh and electronically blurred vocals of Aphid with industrial-tinged music from the TEWND artists for some heavy and lo-fi music, most of which tends to fall into more droning territory because of the effects used. Fans of Sunn O))), Khanate, and similar groups will find themselves at home with Ninika.
Opener “Am I Corrupted” jumps right into the sludgy textures with a very lo-fi sound; the drums and guitar are so muffled that their definition isn’t there. You can hear something of a tone from the guitar, but it’s mixed so low that it’s more of a feeling than it is a rhythm. The drums bash away while Aphid screams over top of everything, and the vocals also seem to feature a warble that gives them an underwater, drowning sound.
The tracks are somewhat repetitive, too, creating that drone effect. “Am I Corrupted” features a slight buzzing that carries throughout the song. “Heat” is a slow build-up of crushing guitars and echoing effects that sound created by using the sheer volume of the recordings as microphone feedback. “Sorry, I Can’t Be With You” does a similar take, but with Aphid pronouncing the title over and over again as though a mantra for himself. Ninika combine those heavy riffs with Aphid’s intense vocals for some fantastic doom metal; the liner notes indicate the vocals feature lyrics based on sex and perversion, but it’s too bad we can’t make out what they are in the murky production.
Ninika EP 2012 is a perfect example of real sludge music – the production is so lo-fi, the drums and guitars tracked so deep in the mix, that everything blends together for a heavy mix of industrial, vocally deranged music. It works well together, and though the tracks are often similar, they have their own unique qualities. The sound is quite scorching as well.