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With roaring war drums, in the spirit of the well-known Summoning, Numenor, a talented Serbian epic black metal band, takes the underground stage by storm. What we have before us is their first official appearance, if we disregard the Tolkien Compilation where they also made a generous contribution.
Numenor music can hardly be described in just one word. True, the roots of this band reach deep into symphonic black metal soil, but the music brims with many other elements as well - elements that defy all attempts to assign a definite label to this coterie of skilled musicians. The music is symphonic and also atmospheric - at times even progressive black, but still largely within the boundaries of symphonic black.
One thing the listener won’t fail to notice is a distinct, inescapable war-like feel to the first song Monarchy Divine. If you ask me, this song is the absolute highlight of the whole split CD. Think of symphonic black metal, but with a touch of that ancient warrior spirit found in Moonsorrow’s music. This makes the music very epic, grand, with various symphonic elements, outstanding guitars and mind-blowing drums that would put to shame even the war drums of the Orcs! The black metal vocal is quite grim, strong and delivers a lasting impression. Marko’s vocal borders between deep death metal vocal and harsh black metal - a truly interesting and effective blend.
Whereas this first song, Monarchy Divine, has the mark of a warlike anthem, the second song, Once We Were Kings, is darker and bleaker, even doomish at times! Justly so, considering that it tells the story of the Ring Wraiths and their descent into darkness. Much of Numenor music, in accordance with the band’s name, is inspired by Tolkien’s books. If Shagrat, the leader of the Uruc Hai, had had a CD collection, Dynasty of The Realm Beyond would have definitely been among his most prized possessions.
In conclusion, in a land where symphonic black metal is poorly developed, Numenor have taken upon themselves to carry the torch and stand as a shiny example of how symphonic black metal should sound. We can only hope that more Serbian bands will soon follow in their path!
The second part of this release is a Belgrade band Forlorn Wisp. The music of these musicians can easily be described as based on the sound of early Blind Guardian. On close inspection, we find a strong influence of Persuader and Savage Circus. The band presents three songs on the split CD. The first, Astral Shade, has an odd structure and unusual melodies. The second song, The Glade, is by far the best. It’s dominated by keyboards. Of all the three songs, only this one has a precise structure with a chorus and pre-chorus, not to mention very catchy melodies. To some extent, this song reminds us of Blind Guardian: ‘Nightfall in Middle Earth’ album. The third song, The Pawn’s Choice is the most unusual of the tree, although it has a very phantasmagoric and dark atmosphere. Besides classic power metal parts, The Pawn’s Choice contains some strong riffs, more in the spirit of trash metal than power metal.
The most striking about this metal band are the vocal abilities of the young singer Nikola; the vocal is much like Hansi Kurch’s from his earlier phase. In conclusion, the music is not bad. The band certainly has good ideas, though, at times, there was a bit of emptiness in the music.