Thursday 19 December 2013

Noctum - Final Sacrifice (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 29/10/2013
Label :  Metal Blade Records

Final Sacrifice, album tracklisting :

1). Conflagration 05:35
2). Liberty in Death 04:55
3). Resurrected in Evil 04:03
4). Deadly Connection 03:30
5). Void of Emptiness 03:47
6). The Revisit 07:25
7). A Burning Will 05:27
8). Temple of the Living Dead 05:16
9). Azoth 07:00

Bio :
Uppsala, Sweden, 2009: Tobias, David, and Gustaf form a brand new band called Séance. The band moved incredibly fast - they formed in September, recorded a two song demo after adding guitarist Per Wikström to the lineup in October, and by November had changed their name to Noctum. Within those three months, the band signed an LP deal with High-Roller Records, and a CD deal with Stormspell Records.

Noctum's debut album, The Séance, was released in September 2010 via High-Roller and in December by Stormspell. The band finally embarked on their first European tour in July of 2011, and followed that up with a new EP, The Fiddler.

By August of 2011, Noctum created enough buzz in the underground to gain the attention of Metal Blade Records, which led to a new worldwide record deal. It was also during this time that Per Wikström left the band and Daniel Johansson took his place.

With a new record deal in place with a global label, Noctum spent the majority of 2012 refining their sound and writing new songs. Their search for original and interesting material led them to a heavier and darker sound. The progression came very naturally for the band and differs from the typical 70's vibe. The new material successfully evokes a heaviness and emotion one might not expect from a "retro" sounding band.

Noctum toured Europe again in 2012, and then welcomed the addition of drummer Fredrik Jansson after Gustaf's departure. Jansson, who spent time in Witchcraft, Count Raven, and Abramis Brama, was added to the lineup in time to record Final Sacrifice in April 2013

The Band :

David Indelöf | Guitar/Vocals
Daniel Johansson | Guitar
Tobias Rosén | Bass
Fredrik Jansson | Drums

Review :

Since forming as Séance in 2009, before becoming Noctum a few months later, the band’s rise has almost written itself. A debut album, named after their original moniker, was enough to seduce Metal Blade Records into offering them a global record deal, thus beginning a new, exciting chapter in this band’s history.

Amid tours and finding a new drummer in Fredrik Jansson they holed themselves away in a bid to refine their sound, to draw dark, rain-sodden clouds over its skyline.

Listen to Final Sacrifice and you will understand just why Metal Blade found them so instantly alluring. This is retro metal, but not as you’d quite expect. While the Swedish quartet clearly draw influence from the occult, with the likes of Black Sabbath and King Diamond tinting the record’s atmospherics, coupled with bluesy guitars and the kind of swagger Iron Maiden have so effortlessly produced time and time again, they are not content in simply following the glory-day-chasing mantra so many other bands adhere to. There is something so genuinely unique about this band; a concoction of everything that has come before them, yet sounding strikingly relevant today.

The production is crisp, with a modern day freshness, leaving the retro vibes to stem solely from the music itself. There is, in all, an overriding sense of ambition to be more than just 70s-copyists. The structures of the songs take you on journeys, with the main theme of the song left far behind in a smoky haze by the time every track reaches its conclusion, each one providing the listener with a different twist and turn, a different flavour than the last. 

The Revisit for instance, while underlined by a dark, Sabbath inspired progression that growls with an inherent sense of evil, is iced with atmospheric flute work that draws upon the likes of Jethro Tull and Focus for tonality. Deadly Connection comes with a rather different curveball in its bluesy, instrumental nature meanwhile. A stomp through enough licks and riffs to fill an entire album for some bands, this is where you feel guitarists David Indelöf and Daniel Johansson can properly stretch themselves and run wild. Together, across the album their differing styles maintain interest and add a multitude of colours and textures to this album’s many long, instrumental sections.

Songs like Burning Will and Resurrected in Evil teach the Sabbath copyists out there that, if you are going to lean on the world-dominating sound of the Birmingham four-piece, then you cannot simply rely on a slow, plodding riff downtuned like there’s no tomorrow. As much as they are a key ingredient, a key component in why just so many people love them, there is much more to it than that. These songs are progressive in nature, like War Pigs, Iron Man, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Snowblind. They build brood and bewilder as they venture down unexpected avenues; breaking into gallops, more riffs, lead harmonies and breakdowns that bring to mind anything and everything from Iron Maiden and Thin Lizzy to Judas Priest and Ghost, all wrapped in a individually defining character you will not find anywhere else.

Noctum are a band to keep your eye on. With as much ingenuity and clever hooks as this, they are destined to go places.

Words by : Phil Weller

You can buy it here