|Review: Noctum - Final Sacrifice|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2013
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: December 10, 2013
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
I'm getting a little tired of this occult rock/metal fare, and really In Solitude has set the bar for any future releases with their latest offering. Speaking of which, Noctum's fellow Swedes are a good jumping off point when considering their sound. I'm particularly reminded of the first couple of In Solitude albums here, although I will say Noctum sprinkle some more doom flavoring, as well as some seventies-style dusty rock elements.
The sound in general will instantly come across familiar to those of you well versed in this particular niche, and really Noctum don't offer anything new or exciting out of the already established norm. You'll hear shades of acts like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and of course Mercyful Fate across the board, and if you're anything like me, you'd probably rather be listening to any of the aforementioned acts. The songs themselves are good, if unspectacular, lacking in any sort of staying power or memorable factor. The guitars rumble throughout, dishing out archaic early eighties style riffs, and the rhythm section lives and breathes the late seventies. David Indelöf delivers a typical mid-range approach with no-frills crafting the band's macabre tales, which in the end doesn't really pay off.
There isn't anything wrong with Noctum per se, as there are tons of great bands that add little to previously established formulas. It's just the songs aren't that special, and the production lacks anything in the way of an identifying feature, feeling a little too clean to generate any sort of atmosphere to fit the music. This should sound enigmatic or ethereal, but instead comes off a little too upfront. Even when the band opt to draw out a number as seen in "The Revisit" any element of mystery or drama, which I'm sure is hiding in the sound somewhere, lacks the room to grow, or suck you in.
Final Sacrifice isn't a bad album by any stretch, but it doesn't leave much in the way of a lasting impression. There isn't any real intensity, or deft songwriting feat to draw the listener back in for repeated listens and as such leaves Noctum on the sidelines. On the surface this is a good album, but underneath I'd say it was fairly hollow. You can safely give this one a miss, although those who enjoy this particular niche will find something familiar and worthy of a listen.
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