Wednesday, 6 October 2010
[ALBUM REVIEW] Nocturnal Blood - Devastated Graves
Debut full release Devasted Graves – The Morbid Celebration from the occult US black metal act Nocturnal Blood has finally arrived. Previously only having heard their The True Spirit of Old demo, which was a fantastic piece of old-school South American-influenced venom, I was fairly eager to get this one on the decks. How does it shape up? Extremely well. A forewarning though, if you prefer your black metal abound with sugar coated synths, this is most certainly not for you. On the other hand, if you prefer your black metal primitive and downright dripping with filth, something akin to Beherit and Blasphemy, then look no further.
Upon the initial listen, it's quite clear the band aren't at all ever going to venture into new pastures, trying out something unique or less than ordinary, it was clear as daylight upon seeing the cover what type of music I would be in for. Devastated Graves... is pure homage to the old-school black metal and death metal scenes, worshiping at the altars of Beherit, Sarcofago and Autopsy. Nocturnal Blood is just a guy playing the music he loves, with no desire at all for originality or anything modern, and that's exactly why I love this release.
The music itself is basically the bastard child of Autopsy and Beherit. Long, slow, procession-like dirges interchanged with chaotic riffing and turbulent flaying on the drums. Occasionally we are also treated to short, twisted guitar leads, such as "Impure Devotion" and "Chaos Blood", and also some catchy riffing. The intro riff to "Ritual Lust" is monstrous. The vocals on the first half of the album are a deep death guttural, pretty much indecipherable and soaked in echo and reverb, while towards the last few songs, Ghastly Apparition opts for a nauseating whisper extremely like those off Drawing Down the Moon. Couple this with the stifling production it almost sounds as if this record was recorded in a cavern. I'll leave that up to you to decide whether that's a good thing or not, as for me, it's the perfect production for material like this. Some slight complaints about the album mainly lie with the drumming. The snare at times appears too high in the mix, and at times I can hear the infamous 'pots and pans' sound championed by Lars Ulrich, for example in track one "Devastated Graves". It's only a small complaint though as the rest of the album is such a high standard, it can be ignored.
There's no technical garbage here, little variation. The chances are if you are a fan of this type of music, Archgoat, Beherit, Morbosidad, Teitanblood and such like that, it's exactly how you expect it. This isn't black/death metal for the weak willed. If you're looking for originality and technicality, then you're looking down the wrong road, if you like your music putrid and with an extremely ominous and absolutely evil atmosphere, this is sure to please. A fine first album by a band I now have on my 'watch list'.
Originally written for Metalcrypt