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Nocturnal Depression, one of the most widely known and enjoyed bands within the DSBM genre, their album 'Nostalgia - Fragments Of A Broken Past' is widely regarded as a classic within the genre, standing amongst others such as 'Suici.De.Pression' and 'The Tenth Sub Level Of Suicide'. The follow up to this, Soundtrack For A Suicide - Opus II' is another great release, atmospheric, cold and truly depressing.
The instrumentation in this is nothing special, a lot of simple riffs and patterns, but unlike many bands, Nocturnal Depression have crafted it well, so whilst simple, it's repetitive nature and use of dark scales and layers of instruments creates a truly dark and deep atmosphere that draws the listener in, the combination of guitar and synth/keyboard on tracks such as opener 'Hear My Voice...Kill Yourself' create a beautiful sound that makes the listener feel isolated and allows the exploration of the messages and feelings that are been conveyed in the music so that, by the end, the listener reemerges from the experience feeling a lot less happier than upon entering. Whilst the playing is simple, don't take that for not exploring different styles, there's; chordal progressions, tremolo picking, arpeggios and other styles all employed at various points, all appearing in the track, for each track doesn't just stick to one style, they evolve, exploring different sounds as they progress, so the listener never becomes bored. The band also mixes clean and distorted sounds to create their atmospheres, the beginning of 'Anthems To Self Destruction' is a perfect example, the arpeggios and simple picking layered together create a cold, isolated atmosphere that blends perfectly into the distorted section afterwards, things like this are what makes this band so special, they create music that flows, seamlessly from section to section, never losing momentum or its atmosphere. The drumming on the album is simple too, but that is a good thing, if the drumming was complex and fast it wouldn't fit with the music and would ruin what the band is trying to create, rather the drumming matches the guitar and synth parts.
The vocal work of Lord Lokraed is perfect for this, his tortured screams sound genuinely pained on this, so his words come across as genuine and meaningful, his voice matches the guitars perfectly, all coming together to create this oppressive and painful atmosphere, his voice varies from straight forward growls and screams, to high shrieks that sound like he is genuinely in pain when creating them. The lyrics on this are also well done, straight forward and reflective of the nature of the music, the lyrics to Hear My Voice...:
Hear my voice into your head, don't try to stop it
The poison streaming into your veins is me
The cold you can feel is my revenge
You're just a scum, a creeping filth, you inspire hate
Take this poisoned blade or are you
So c*nt that you can't end your life?
Overall, this is a great followup album to Nostalgia very atmospheric, very depressing and perfectly constructed to create the sounds that the band wanted and to deliver the message they wished, everything is perfectly done to merge into one wall of sound that will surround the listener in its melancholy till the end. For anyone who is a fan of DSBM then this is a must listen
Originally posted on Sputnikmusic here: http://www.sputnikmusic.com/review/58470/Nocturnal-Depression-Soundtrack-for-a-Suicide---Opus-II/
'Soundtrack for a Suicide' does what it says on the tin. Imagine you were going to commit suicide, pleasant, I know. Well, this would be the soundtrack to give you the courage to go through with it and it's incredibly fitting to the topic. It typifies the new breed of depressive black metal and has become a primary force behind the genres drive into a more suicidal feel than ever before. Be prepared to feel every bit of depression you have ever felt all at once, as Nocturnal Depression have delivered an astonishing look into affliction and agony through the eyes of the tormented.
'Soundtrack for a Suicide' is as grim as they come. It's a full-length that means business and takes no pleasure in delivering us from good to evil. It's a process in reverse, which makes it an incredible journey. Although spirituality may not be a major influence on Nocturnal Depression's music, there is certainly a spiritual feel to 'Soundtrack for a Suicide'. Obviously, spirituality doesn't have to relate to Christianity or any other the 'do good by others' religions.
This certainly isn't the case when it comes to Nocturnal Depression. Their motive is a somewhat more twisted and distorted version of spirituality. It's ethereal and wraps itself in an airy dimension full of horrid beasts and demons. Nocturnal Depression are the Plague in human form. Their sound sweeps across the land, destroying what lays in it's path. Nature will succumb to the superior force that 'Soundtrack for a Suicide' is. It's an emotionally charged ride into the unknown. Stand well back and observe.
'Soundtrack for a Suicide' is minimalistic. Nocturnal Depression use simplistic means to create highly complex atmospheres. This means atmospheres are doused with sin and set alight into flames, these fires that burn represent the flames of hatred coursing through the atmosphere of Nocturnal Depression's music. Whether that be through the bleak style of production, or through the repetitive riffs. Their message of future demise is slowly, but surely understood.
Depression will consume us all at one stage or another, and when it does, 'Soundtrack for a Suicide' will be there, over your shoulder, to guide you through the pain and into the pits of hell. The gates which guard this hell will be torn down by the uncompromising vocals of Lord Lokhraed. They're indecipherable, but effective in dampening any light that might be seen at the end of tunnel. They sound out over the music like a foghorn. This indicates to the masses that this hell Nocturnal Depression have descended from likes pain and suffering. It enjoys it and so should you.
'Soundtrack for a Suicide' gives a new meaning to depression. It's ambience and melodic electric acoustics breed confidence from the audience. The more we're subjected to these entrancing melodies of melancholy, the better. The echoes of the vocals show a hallow side to Nocturnal Depression. At one stage you can hear the vocals shout with despair, "Join me with suicide". The vocals are superlatively situated in the right place, at the right time. They bring on the emotive side to Nocturnal Depression like nothing else. The distorted dirges that the guitars produce are second best, but they're still good. They don't sound devoid of emotion, and aren't typical of the genre whatsoever.
They take pride in their twisted appearance and help, along with the percussion side of things, to drive the music on to a new level. The percussion element of the music is perhaps where Nocturnal Depression begin to falter. Slightly laboured patterns and sunken sound don't inspire. The production can tend to become annoying. It's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn't that bad either. In essence, it does suit Nocturnal Depression's emotive qualities, but it gives the vocals far too much leniency. Giving the vocals far too much room to manipulate the music won't go down well. it's restrictive. Other than a few minor details, 'Soundtrack for a Suicide' is solid and very strong attempt to regenerate depressive music.
It's a pity that this duet's musical views aren't correctly valued by the mixing of the sound. The harshness of the guitars shows an underground aura, but after several auditions, preferably with the head-phones on, it turns disturbing. The voice is also constrained, croaked and slightly forged.
Aside that, all sounds like a Forgotten Tomb copy, meaning a Depressive Suicidal Black Metal, pretty slow and melancholic from time to time. I admit it's the first album from these French guys that I'm listening to, but I know that their debut "Nostalgia" was appreciated in the underground scene.
The specific NOCTURNAL DEPRESSION element seems to be the background guitars, and melody has a charm of its own! I cannot state that we are dealing with many contrasting shades in this kind of Black Metal, yet something is missing!
Listening to it didn't discomfort me, yet it hasn't impress me either... it is an average album, spotting some intelligent ideas (saturated in nihilism and misanthropy) expressed in a diffident and at all original manner....there's a long road to go in order to reach SHINING or NARGAROTH's level, but the good point is that they're trying.