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As solemn sharks yet reflecting on the blood of their latest kill, Greek imprints ISO666 and Nocternity were quick to collaborate on another release in the Crucify Him EP. This shorter work was a repository for the band's earlier material that did not conform to the sea goddess concept of En Oria, lyrically or aesthetically. Indeed, the songs written here are equally as vile and reproachful as far as their malevolent architecture, but they possess a more airy and volatile nature as if they were necrotic winds howling through some forsaken abyss or pandemonium. The riffs themselves do not deviate from the style manifest through En Oria, still a window into the Norwegian scene of the early 90s (Burzum, Mayhem, old Satyricon), but they do seem better constructed and less lethargic than the debut was often prone to be.
The intro, "Stella Tenebrarum", is not as impressive as the synthesizer pieces found on that submerged precursor, but more of a distinctly minimal ambiance joined by tranquil, clean guitars and light vocals. This creates an immediate contrast when the harsh but melodic titular track is engaged, slower, roiling tragedies alternating with accelerate bursts of streaming anxiety. I will say, though, that I found the earlier riffs to be predictable. It is the bridge here, with its return to clean string plucking and subsequent explosion into a more memorable melodic sequence, that I found more compelling. "Lunar Innuendo" begins with another ambient passage, but succumbs to more explosive blasting, before ultimately fading out to acoustics. My favorite track, though, is definitely the closer "Perdo Corporem", in which the threads of atmosphere are affixed to the bleeding, high velocity guitars and gnarled, oppressive vocals, giving of a hostile glamour redolent of Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse, sans the symphonic side.
In all, Crucify Him does feel slightly more consistent than En Oria in execution, though the lyrical themes of blasphemy, fallen angels and repression are not as intriguing. The Greeks seem to be inching toward the finish line here, without crossing it. For one, many of the faster paced rhythms fail to manifest in compelling rhythmic configurations: the unflinching speed might cast a vicious dimension to the proceedings, but the riffs themselves are often feel interchangeable, and there is little to set this apart from a wealth of European recordings throughout the mid to late 90s. That said, it's not bad, and the hellish mood and atmosphere are appropriate to its subject matter.
"Crucify Him" is a very powerful release. In fact, I cannot think of any other Black Metal release with as much power as this one. I am not talking about speed, nor brutality. Yes, speed is present, but it is not extraordinary. Impressive nevertheless. There are really great riffs present.
As for sound quality, it is above average, which is definitely wished for. I cannot imagine this release as a masterpiece if the sound would be more raw. It just would not fit. Still, there is enough to like for those who are more fond of raw Black Metal, as the production is far from very
The vocals are very important on this release. Of course most Black Metal sound like there is something missing if the vocals are absent, but in this case the impact would really decrease without vocals. I can imagine that sounds dramatic in a way, but it is true. You have to understand that this release is all about atmosphere, and the long screams and spoken words at times really add something to that atmosphere.
Although all the tracks are in the same style, "Crucify Him" definitely stands out. If all tracks would be equally amazing to "Crucify Him", the score would possible be even higher.
Nocternity, the Greek phenomenon of pagan black metal inspired by middle ages and mythology, significantly established their position with this EP in 2001. This is a mixture of atmospheric music with aggression of thrash/black metal. Acoustic guitar really corresponds with skilfully played, very fast, and thrashy electric guitar. They mix into one great whirlwind of battle sound.
Calmer moments introduce listeners to the realm of myths and battles and later they are raised to still atmospheric, thrashy variations. Finally they evolve to very thrashy and brutal chainsaw which gives a pleasant feeling of going back to 80’s/90’s kicking ass thrash. This is moreover flavoured with clean vocals reciting the words of men who stand against the God. Some battle noises are added as well. The album is rich in such kind of effects. The final impression may be only positive.
The album is very poetic with its lyrics. Its concept is comparable to Greek tragedy scheme, in which there is no other option but to sin or die. Lyrics are also demonic and hellish (understand this word in vast context) but this does not mean that they are only blasphemic not poetic.
This piece is one of the very few black metal classics from Greece. The item certainly worth buying, and whats more interesting, it was released by Kyrck which is also producer of armours.
I have this album released by “Blut and Eisen Productions”, which also contains four rehearsal tracks from the years 1997-1998 as bonus. Having listened to the superb “Onyx” I wasn't sure what to expect from this album since it is a couple of years older. But it didn't let me down.
The album is pure black metal reeking of atmosphere and brutality. Side A contains the new releases by Nocternity. It is close to the “Onyx” sound (or, better, the Onyx sound is close to this) with the only difference that there are no keyboards here, although the guitars give you this pleasant and epic feeling that keyboards would do. Very heavy riffs and pounding drums, fast guitars with melodic and brutal parts, blast-beats, eerie breaks and intros and furious vocals. Add to this the professional production and they all sum up to an excellent result.
Side B contains four rehearsal songs, but they sound like they are professional demo work. These rehearsal sessions show early signs that the band is going to be (if not already is) one of the biggest bands in the black metal scene. Very clean production here as well, fast riffs and melody above all. Some scarce keyboard parts add melancholy to the songs. Pure Nocternity sound. You will love them.
All in all, this album is worth every single euro cent. With releases like this Nocternity is becoming one of my all time favourite black metal bands. Ninety six points because it is really worth it.