Monday, January 9, 2017

review: Noctem

review by MMB
Noctem (Spain)
release date: September 30th, 2016
label: Prosthetic Records
The Noctem way of doing things is blasting, modern black metal, concentrated on speed and memorable songs. They prefer a sound that is clear, tight and technologically current at the international standards of extreme metal. It might seem like they are obsessed with total speed, but once you lock in to blasting mode of operation, once your mental level is at one with this album, the music makes so much sense.
Noctem's songs will continue to play in your head after the music stops. Don't you think that's a good quality? I think so. These Iberians open up a new dimension of warp speed melodies at this level. It's not for nothing that this band is now on its fourth album. They ended 2016 by hitting the road in Europe and they have been working on maximizing everything that they do so that they can rise above the status of special guest to the level of main attraction in their genre. This album will help in that endeavor.
About the speed. Yes, it is warp speed black metal, but there is some variation and tempo changes, and even some moments where the blasting is dialed down. It is consistently fast music, but it is not monotonously so. Noctem finds many ways to make interesting twists and turns throughout the album. It might be overwhelming at first, but once the fuller picture comes into focus, there is a lot going on in terms of songwriting.
Speaking of songwriting, it should be mentioned that Noctem spends time on crafting hooks, riffs, melodies and patterns that are worth exploring and knowing. Veterans that they are, they are not satisfied with speed for the sake of novelty. They make sure that each song has something to offer; something to come back to; something to remember; it may be a catchy tremolo lick, maybe a progression that works well, a blasting/melody section here, a total frantic segment there, a solo over there, so on and so forth.
Noctem has been serious about its black metal for a long time now. Their objective is to bring to the table a work that competes with of the best extreme metal in the world today. In this, they have succeeded, in my view.

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