Nocternity - Harps of the Ancient Temples
Iron Bonehead Productions
Black Metal
8 songs (47' 37")
Release year: 2015
Nocternity
Reviewed by Andy

Greek black outfit Nocternity has been quiet on the full-length front since 2003, although their Harps of the Ancient Temples was good. This year they have a new LP incorporating the title track from that EP, in a bleak and rather slow-paced album with the same name.

The sound is nice, though, as mentioned, not at the blistering speed usually expected of black metal. The Black Gates, a 3/4-time guitar dirge to solemn vocals over a drum-and-bass combo, shows production heavier on those two instruments than is usual. I'm reminded of Satyricon in the raspy delivery and slow beat of the title track, which has a cleaner distortion on the high, ghostly tremolo-picked lead guitar, which does some soloing as well. Khal Drogo's vocals are clean and chanted muddily in the background on these two songs, but Titans is more traditional in its delivery, with higher speed and croaked call-and-response vocals. I liked how the vocals are used, too; instead of one long procession of screams, there's a chorus answering Drogo back at times like a Satanic congregation, and muttered subsonic bits throughout. The music is less interesting; it's good, but mostly a backdrop of noise for the vocals rather than much of a melody in itself.

It seems that Nocternity prefers the slower songs as a way to express themselves and can make them more interesting than the fast tracks; most here are slow or mid-tempo at their quickest. That being said, tremolo picking loses some of its interest if stretched out over slow songs that last almost eight minutes, and Blood Rite Tree, though it sounds good, feels like it could be compressed a bit while still making the listener happy. The band is good at doing an atmosphere, though. Throughout both Blood Rite Tree and Opaline Eye of Death (which is somewhat better in terms of atmosphere), one can hear the lyrics as sort of a poetic, spoken-word accompaniment to the musical part. It's unusual and it does make the otherwise rather dull melodies more interesting. Andromeda somehow is more energetic without actually going faster beat-wise, and they saved the majority of the album's atmosphere for this one; it's probably my favorite on the album. The soloing is longer and more luxuriant, and here I can say that the track provides the epic qualities I was hoping to get.

This isn't a stunning release or anything, but it does make good black-metal background music. If great riffing and melodies are your thing, this probably won't satisfy, but anyone liking the longer, more atmospheric style of black metal might like this one.

Killing Songs :
Andromeda
Andy quoted 71 / 100
Other albums by Nocternity that we have reviewed:
Nocternity - A Fallen Unicorn reviewed by Misha and quoted 70 / 100
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