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Nokturnal Mortum: Goat Horns

It's great to see that there are still good upcoming bands in the black metal genre. Even though there has been more than enough reasons to complain about a lack of quality and an overly generic nature of the recent releases from an astonishing majority of the bands in the field, there's still plenty of talent that appears to be coming from all over the world. Ex-republics of the former USSR were not exactly know for giving birth to anything remarkable up until now. However, with Nokturnal Mortum and Vale releasing their latest CD through the upcoming End Records label, this may soon change for better.

The strength of many of the modern day black metal bands defintely lies in their ability to succesully integrate agressive fast-paced black metal attack with a plethora of keyboard orchestrations interlaced with a swarm of complex musical structures. Musically proficient and technically skilled, Nokturnal Mortum have probably come as close to actually interbreeding Bal-Sagoth like grandiose walls of orchestrated madness and Emperor's hyperspeed black metal art. The added plus here is the band's great ear for the folk melodies of their homeland Ukraine. Even though at times one can observe that the guitars need to be more upfront especially when the keyboard sound basically drowns out everything else, I'd still rather ignore it for now due to the lack of production experience (it's very understandable given that they have recorded in their hometown of Kharkov - they are yet to grow their own Pytten over there)

Coming off as a bit too artsy at times, Nokturnal Mortum still manage to convincingly pull it off with every song on the record. Most of them run for over 6 minutes but you don't feel like any given song drags or anything of that sort. Nicely arranged and put together, the material has a strong Southern European flavor to it that allows them to successfully portray the mysticism and an enigmatic darkness that oozes from that region. By the same token, the early Rotting Christ recordings were just as perfect in portraying the feelings of actually embracing the ancient past. Maybe with a slightly rawer production, Goat Horns would be a perfect ode to the pagan kingdom of Veles. But still, songs like "Unholy Oraphania" are nothing short of amazing - I admit to listening to the majority of the album at least 20 times.

According to the label's website, the band has already recorded their new album called "To The Gates of Blasphemous Fire". Taking in consideration the band's ability to create quite an ambience with their truly unique brand of folkish black metal, we can expect quite an epic release next time around. In the meantime, also check out such Russian bands as With Night Came The Wind. There is quite a scene developing outside of the Western hemisphere.

Added: January 1st 2004
Reviewer: SoT Archives
Hits: 2960
Language: english

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