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Nokturnal Forest’s first demo, “Birth In Sabbath” is grim, raw, black metal, evil sounding and unrelenting, but as with many underground black metal projects, suffers from production issues and too primitive a sound that makes the music less memorable than it is approachable.
Granted, black metal isn’t a style that everyone’s going to like. It isn’t even a style that everyone will have at least gotten a glimpse of, but if this Nokturnal Forest demo is a person’s first glimpse of black metal, it is sure to turn them off from it for good. “Gather in Sabbath” is a pretty terrible song. With the most annoying riff I’ve ever heard constantly going back and forth, it and the vocals are the only things that can really be heard in the mix. The drumming is a barely audible constant of snare and when the song goes through its only progression into a tremolo picked speed section, the drumming just continues what it was doing earlier. At three and a half minutes, this song is about three minutes too long for the content offered.
Demon of Darkness has worked on a few different projects including Blackspell and Dark Promise where he has made music as intolerably bad as this, but with this new project, Nokturnal Forest, the style of “raw black metal” has even less substance and poorer production than this bedroom musician’s previous failed attempts at black metal bands. This is both due to the production, which sounds more like an 8-bit Nintendo game than metal music, the unprofessional composition which results in some schizophrenic and unnecessary directional changes within each song, and a lack of practice and preparation in the presentation of the demo as the instruments lose cohesion, begin some pretty terrible riffs, like that in “Upon Thy Throne” and solos too early within each drum cycle, or just completely lose the listener when everything comes apart.
Nokturnal Forest probably won’t be the worst band I’ve ever heard as I was lucky enough to come across Mortician a few years ago, but if the music keeps up this pace, it will probably go the way of that Frenchman everyone wants to see finally shut up and die, Zarach “Baal” Tharagh.