Ni – Fol Naïs

The French four-piece math metal, avant-garde, experimental monster called Ni made another attempt at the annual lists in the last two weeks of 2023. Brave. People with a penchant for obscene jazz, extracted from only the most moist and lurid holes, are undoubtedly familiar with the Ni-che – get it? – which Ni dug out for himself. For fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, Shining, Poly-Math, Dub Trio and all that good stuff.

After a lugubrious soundscape, Fol Naïs takes off at breakneck speed. Delirious, an appropriate adjective for Ni’s inimitable riffs, bar changes and twisted ideas. As if in a fever dream the songs fit together seamlessly without a pause for breath, without rest, and if there is a moment of peace to be found it is only an appearance. Berdic‘s intro is one of those moments that can comfort you, after Brusquet‘s crazy violence. The kind of violence that leaves you stunned and sad. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Berdic degenerates into a chaotic climax just as much as his predecessor. About the song Brusquet: if you want to cause trouble with the neighbors you have to turn it up loud. What starts with electronic distortion, as a sputtering audio file, quickly evolves into a sludge riff that appears to be danceable with guitar strums in devilish harmonies. As if Queens Of The Stone Age have transformed into the coolest version of himself and then tries to play jazz. The spastic moments soon return, after which an absurdly heavy riff blasts through the speakers with a vague scream on top. Mandatory for you and your neighbor. What a song. Brusquet in itself is already enough to give the album a score above eighty out of a hundred.

We also find some damn tasty treats in Rigoletto, which is based on the same philosophy. Leaving the listener alienated to realize that a number of evolved monkeys are presenting evolved monkey-sounds and being listened to from a perspective of enlightened minds. The animal will crawl right back into your clothes.

There is of course the Triboulet trilogy as well, the first part of which features a truly enchanting rhythm game between bass guitar and drums that enchants in an inimitable way. Of course not much later all hell breaks loose and the guitars are allowed to exhibit atypical harmonies. The entirety of these three songs is all about building up and breaking down, over and over again. And if you manage to get through this trilogy, Cathelot is still there to leave a fat turd in the middle of the room and label it with the sign ‘art’. This is squeezed out at an excruciatingly slow pace and it burns. Jesus it burns. The high pitched guitars almost simulate a heavily distorted saxophone and give a mysterious layer to the ponderous riff. The drums have so much reverb on them that they give the impression of being recorded in a torture chamber under a cathedral. Until everything culminates in a choir of contrasting sounds, recorded in that same room. Any moment now a gate to hell could open.

The production on Fol Naïs is so very gross. The instruments are nicely separated in the mix, with the bass guitar in the centre, drums nicely spaced with cymbals on the left and right, as are the guitars. All splashes, crackles and dirty pulls on the strings can be heard clearly. The bass guitar is a stealthy, pulsating, hairy monster with long, blunt, unbrushed teeth that rival the bite force of a hippopotamus. Halitosis and Camembert it whispers. Most of the metallic undertone is due to this. The guitars are mainly intended to disorient you, with misleading clean strums alternating with dystopian aggression. The producer has chosen to present this whole thing as truthfully as possible and it works incredibly well; it’s as if you zoom in on the individual musicians so hard that you can look into their pores. Uncomfortable, gross and beautiful.

I still remember Ni‘s dazzling set in the small hall at Complexity Fest. The band returns to Patronaat in January to play a big home match. With songs like those on Fol Naïs I am sure the band will splash, gurgle and convulse even harder than usual. No pills necessary. What a record this is. The band surpasses itself many times on Fol Naïs and does it over and over again. The pace at the start of the album does slow down somewhat before we arrive at the Triboulet-trilogy but that is really no problem. As you can see for yourself, this one has scored high on my annual list. To be consumed only on an empty stomach.




Dur Et Doux, 2023


  1. Zerkon
  2. Da’Gonet
  3. Brusquet
  4. Berdic
  5. Chicot
  6. Rigoletto
  7. Triboulet, Pt.1
  8. Triboulet, Pt.2
  9. Triboulet, Pt.3
  10. Cathelot


  • Anthony Bénard – Guitar
  • Nicolas Bernollin – Drums
  • Benoit Lecomte – Bass guitar
  • Francois Mignot – Guitar