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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Noctem - Exilium Review

Band: Noctem
Album: Exilium
Label: Art Gates Records
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Country: Spain
Release Date: March 3rd, 2014

Bringing forth 10 tracks of Blackened Death Metal is the entity, NOCTEM. Known as Vhert(Drums), Ul(Bass), Exo & Nekros(Guitars) and Beleth(Vocals) - Here are five individuals hailing from SPAIN where a lot of great talent has been coming from as of late. For those music fans who aren’t well exposed to true underground, some might draw a comparison to that of BEHEMOTH. Definitely not a bad thing, since Poland’s top selling group has come a long way in their evolution. But NOCTEM gives you a sense of pride when you find a relatively new and awesome group in the Extreme Underground. And they’ve been at it for a while. With their follow-up to 2011’s OBLIVION, their 3rd full-length in 5 years, this is EXILIUM(Art Gates Records).

Part NOCTEM’s sound that makes them a great band is their inclusion of Symphonic elements, such as the track “Enuma Elish”(aka “The Seven Tablets of Creation” according to Mesopotamian ideology), used to introduce the album. Two minutes later, you’re blasted into the abyss by Vhert’s drumming(which by-the-way, really drives this album) with the song “Apsu Dethroned”. There’s some crazy riffage going on in this album. The following tracks ”Decrepit Human Kingdom” and “Tiamat’s Crown” are early examples of the Thrash style which is part of NOCTEM’s sound. With hypnotic guitars which swing you back and forth, never really losing that Blackened element. Once again driven by some insane and tight drumming

Halfway into the abyss known as EXILIUM come the tracks “The Rising Horns” and “Halo of Repugnance” where you might think the fall from grace might lighten up and slow down, but it doesn’t. It’s the Symphonic elements which carry you further, or more like drag you down deeper, guiding you through the varied speed and changes in not only throughout the album, but within the songs as well. It has the right balance of Symphonic, Black, Thrash and Death so you never get tired or expect what’s to come. The only real gauge are instrumentals like “Egregor” that have you believing you’re nearing a climactic and catastrophic end, but sets up for a good climax.

The longest tracks on the record are “The Splint of Destinations” with a great intro, with a heavy bass and drum rhythm. And the track for which a video was excellently made(below) “Eidolon”, which in my opinion, feels like it should have be the final closing track. In closing you reach “The Adamantine Doors” which felt a bit abrupt and short, but I guess they wanted to leave the listener wanting more. It’s like your girlfriend that wants to go at it again after you’ve blown your load (on the previous track) and all you want to do is rollover and sleep or make a sandwich, but you have to go for it anyways.

My favorite tracks on this album are “Apsu Dethroned”, “Halo of Repugnance”, "The Splint of Destinations"  and Eidolon". This album contains the beautiful blackened element that should attract the cvlt Black-Metal following. The songs are nicely written with varied tempo and style changes so you never get bored, and not to the point where they’d become a Technical Death Metal group – which is totally fine. Noctem is a Blackened Death Metal group from Spain, with something to prove. Apart from what I felt was a soft finish, I had hoped for another track or 2, because once you take out the opening track and “Egregor”, you’re only left with 8 songs. It’s too early to tell if this one will make my “Best of 2014” list, but it’s strongly considered. I do recommend you listen to their previous work especially their debut full-length, “Divinity”.

1. Enuma Elish
2. Apsu Dethroned
3. Decrepit Human Kingdom
4. Tiamat’s Crown
5. The Rising of Horns
6. Halo of Repugnance
7. Egregor
8. The Splint of Destinations
9. Eidolon
10. The Adamantine Doors

Total Playing Time: 46:19