“Ahead of their time” is a cliche often used to explain music or art that just doesn’t really land, and a lot of times, it’s not quite appropriate. However, this is the perfect way to characterize Nebula, a group that released records around the turn of the century, but sound more like they hail from 2018.
Listening to these three re-released Nebula records, it comes as no surprise that they chose now as the time to put this music back out there. On first listen, I thought this band was just re-releasing stuff from a few years ago, but Let It Burn is from 1999, To the Center was recorded in 98 and Dos EPs is their most recent release, from 2002. As the notes accompanying the press release point out, Nebula also would have fit right in during the heyday of bands like Hawkwind and Black Sabbath. Alas, although some other bands with a similar sound got popular around the time Nebula was releasing records, their particular brand didn’t seem to land.
Today, they sound right at home. Although there are definitely some elements of throwback here, especially on Let It Burn, nothing about Nebula sounds cheesy or trite. All of their arrangements are carefully executed and cultivate a heavy and catchy sound, and the overall vibe of each album is heavy desert rock with an emphasis on brutal doom. What stands out the most about these offerings is that they do sound distinctly modern, and not because doom is big right now. Their handling of experimental instrumentation and ability to cary odd-sounding melodies over heavy riffs is a skill that showed up more recently in underground metal, but they definitely seem to possess it.
All fans of doom, stoner or desert rock should definitely listen to these three records and get acquainted with some good music. And for those in the know enough to already love Nebula, you lucked out! Grab these re-releases today and enjoy a unique and psychedelic soundscape.