Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Noctomb - Obulus for Charon (Album Review)

Obulus for Charon cover art

Album Type - Full Length
Label - Primitive Ways Records
Release Date - October 1, 2014

The Band

Matt Couchon- Bass
Nathan Stokes- Guitar/Vocals
Patrick Cotter - Drums

Obulus for Charon” Tracklisting

1. Bokor 4:20
2. Kraken 3:16
3. Spectral Figures 2:39
4. Obulus for Charon 6:44
5. Illusions 3:33
6. Soulrot 6:51
7. Beethoven’s Butcher 7:23

Album Review

In recent years Raleigh, North Carolina has become one of those small American cities that’s become a destination for a bizarre mix of people, everyone from musicians, to business opportunists, to rural weirdos who are better off in an urban setting as opposed to the southern shitholes where they grew up. Although the college/indie rock scene has been a prevalent factor in Raleigh for awhile, in recent years there has been an undeniable heaviness rearing its ugly head from the city’s underground. Whether or not this due to the lingering legacy of legendary Raleigh bands like Corrosion of Conformity, or an anti-reaction to the abundance of jangly college rock, may never truly be known, but it really doesn’t matter. When you have a band like Noctomb, a power trio who emerged from the underground and began laying waste to Raleigh locals with their blackened doom/crust, all that matters is the music itself, not its history nor how it came to be. It’s a surefire sign that there is an underlying darkness to every light.

Noctomb’s newest album, “Obulus for Charon,” is the latest release from the stellar label, Primitive Ways Records, (whose excellent tagline is “Life is too short. Don’t fuck to bad music.”) Noctomb’s brand of heaviness is for those who like their metal filthy, furious, and misanthropic. They’re definitely a band who will resonate with both the sludge crowd and the black metal crowd. “Obulus for Charon” is a seven-song deathride with surging riffs, gnarled vocals, and dissonant chords that will transform into a black metal pummel-fest at the drop of a dime. Album opener, “Bokor,” starts things off with a Melvins-heavy chord progression that quickly whips into an icy fury. You will immediately hear that Noctomb is a band who knows how to maximize their three-piece instrumentation. The album features lots of fast, spidery riffing, which is sure to delight the black metal lovers, but for my money Noctomb shines best when they’re laying it down slow and low. One of the album’s stronger tracks, “Kraken,” features seriously crushing doom riffs and a killer vocal line. It’s a masterfully well written song. It will be hard not to raise your fist and growl along. “Soulrot” is another tune that follows this stygian path into darkness. All in all, there is not a dull moment on the record. Noctomb’s greatest success with this album is in giving their listeners a filler-free experience of what the band has to offer. Death, doom, and destruction by the score.

For a band that operates primarily on a local, DIY level, Noctomb is off to an impressive start with this thunderous debut. “Obulus for Charon” is a highly recommended album for listeners looking for the perfect band to bridge the gap between heavy stoner sludge and icy metalcore. Noctomb will soon be celebrating the release of “Obulus for Charon” with a hometown show in Raleigh, but they are a band who is plenty good enough to branch out of the Raleigh underground, and they certainly deserve to be heard by a mass audience.

You can pick up a copy here.

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Written by Erik Sugg