Nicumo - Storms Arise
Inverse Records
Melancholic Gothic Metal with Harsher Elements
11 songs (57'10")
Release year: 2017
Inverse Records
Reviewed by Alex

Two things intrigued me about Nicumo. The fact that the band’s name sounded very Japanese for a Finnish crew, and Nicumo stating they are playing melancholic metal. What is that exactly? If anyone knows anything about melancholy, however, it is Finns. Born with the feeling, or acquired while living there, it seems that many a Finnish band mastered the art. At the top of the heap is unquestionably Sentenced in their post-death metal days. There are also Ghost Brigade, Dark the Suns, Fall of the Leafe, Embraze and recently reviewed Mustan Kuun Lapset. The cautionary word for Nicumo, however, most of these bands are split up, disbanded or on permanent hold. (Strangely enough many of these were at some point on Inverse roster). Melancholy must be wearing not only on listeners but on the music creators themselves … Here is to hoping Storms Arise does not do Nicumo in …

On some tracks on this album Nicumo does sound like latter days Sentenced. The chorus hook in Poltergeist and harsh throaty intones reminding of Ville Laihiala, Death, Let Go with its tangent middle of the song roaming, moody Aiolos which is a perfect on a day it rains non-stop – there is plenty of gothic metal material here which reminded me of Nicumo’s famous countrymen. The band, however, is making it an absolute point not to play only glum and sulking music, hoping to draw a much broader palette. It is true that from the opening intro The Dawn, the best thing Nicumo has going is this dark and watery guitar sound, very appropriate for gothic metal. Yet they certainly make it a conscious effort to mix that feeling with what they will offer as harsher moments, with vocals to shift into deathy territory to suit the moments, and double bass to prop things up when needed. Sirens demonstrates heavier earthier side, but pieces like Old World Burning and Beyond Horizon do it best, where riffs and melody come together, and things progress harmoniously from melancholic to more forceful. I could certainly roll with that approach and enjoyed Old World Burning, Beyond Horizon and Aiolos quite a bit.

Some choices on Storms Arise surprise nevertheless. The attempt at hardcore (Unholy War) intimidates no one, and clean vocals on that song sound like weak moans. Guilt almost purposefully eschews the softer side, and goes for a slow sludgier middle, where dark progressive noodlings are piled in random order. If This is Your God, I Don’t Need One is modern, heavier sounding, grumbly, and quite a wacky proclamation. And so it went for me. One song I would get into the Nicumo groove, the other I would want to skip.

When closer Dream Too Real came up and I saw it on my screen it would last 8.5 minutes I was a little nervous if the band will have enough to say. Despite my worries Dream Too Real came together with harsh moments being almost melodic death metal in Insomnium vein, and softer melodies pouring out in a form of pure unadulterated melancholy, so those 8.5 minutes did not drag at all. It was good to see Storms Arise end on a strong note, and leave a positive overall impression of the album.

Killing Songs :
Old World Burning, Beyond Horizon, Aiolos, Dream Too Real
Alex quoted 73 / 100
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