Noctem - Oblivion
Label: Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Azmo Lozmodial - 2012-08-04
Highlights: Most of tracks are highlights
Spain became a very vital place of extreme and rival loud music, where the heavy metal bands are fighting the strings of the guitar violently, and where the doom metal riffs are extremely memorable, and its a great place also for manufacturing catchy and real grim black metal beats, and now Spain has proved that it has a very solid black\death metal factory when the Spanish black\death metal band Noctem released their second full-length album Oblivion. At first I thought that this record will be a typical death\black album that intends to sound like the Polish Behemoth and the Austrian Belphegor, but as the tracks were playing on my speakers, I realized that this album is a real competitor piece of art.
Noctem have previously released a solid debut album, and with this album the band has built a huge fan base around the whole world, because their music simply has the ability to irrigate the thirst of every extreme metal fan with its complex and stable songwriting and compositions, and specially the volcanic riffs and the ethereal progression that can be felt in this record. I was introduced to the exceptional music of noctem when I watched the music video of the track "Divinity" that has been taken from the debut album, at first I was in fact amazed by the professional visual effects and by the distinguished teamwork of the actors and the directing of the whole cinematic music video, but slowly as the performance of the band started to take control of the whole scene, I noticed that the music behind the filmic story is extraordinary.
At first I thought that this band will be just a Spanish version of Behemoth, but with more dynamic vocal range, I was completely wrong after listening to Oblivion. The musical essence of Noctem is extremely spectacular and viral, and I can describe it as a black metal knife with a death metal razor, the strength of the black metal riffs are supporting the sharpness of the death metal elements, the ears would bleed astonishment if you give the album many spins, and the bleeding will be really enjoyable and unforgettable. The brutal bass lines are tainting the whole sound with stability and toughness, and the drumming (which is my favorite element here) is shooting us with skilled performance, the vocal ranges between growling and crispy deep-pitch screamy work, the guitars are solid as hell and they build a huge fence of stormy noise which takes control of the whole sound.
The capacity of the sound and the beauty of the compositions are the main balanced themes for some tracks like "Universal Disorder" and "Unredemption" and "A Borning Winged Snake", some tracks have more melodic essence and more harmonic bass like the tracks "Abnegation and brutality" and "Sons Of Hun - Vucub", but some tracks contain more violent touches and very grim sections, like the tracks "The Arrival Of The False Gods" and "Invictus" and "Seeking The Ruin Of Souls". The two instrumental tracks in this record are soft and atmospheric, the intro "Popol Vuh" is dominated by the skilled drumming and the spiritual keyboards work, and the other instrumental track "Q'Uma'Rka'Aaj" is dominated by the clean guitar melodies that cross a charming choirs section, the result is a very memorable and atmospheric instrumental, and some samples of fighting knights horses and shooting guns and grenades.
Its hard these days to find a special black\death metal release (With also thrash elements) that doesn't intent to sound exactly like Behemoth, that's why I am really glad that I have been introduced to Noctem and this special record, though I really hate to compare bands with each others, but I can easily select Oblivion to be one of my best 3 metal releases in 2011. If you are into the violent drum-beats of Belphegor and the extremely technical guitar works of Behemoth, then you have to own all the releases of this band, your library will be thankful.