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Too many lengths harm the good basis - 72%

kluseba, July 12th, 2012

Nokturnal Mortum are a critically highly acclaimed underground metal band from Kharkiv that performs some sort of epic blackened folk metal with Ukrainian lyrics. This basis is already rather intriguing and original and makes this record an interesting exotic gem for any black, doom or folk metal fan. After several overwhelming critics I was curious to try their latest output out. Among many positive things, I also found some negative facts.

Many songs are simply too long and start to sounds somewhat redundant to my ears. The whole record would sound more coherent, emotional and fluid if the band would be able to cut off some unnecessary instrumental parts and focus on song lengths somewhere between five and seven minutes instead of having tracks that almost crack the ten, eleven or even twelve minute mark. The songs are mostly not atmospheric, original or progressive enough to be that long in my humble opinion.

Apart of the introduction, the shortest track happens to be "Небо Сумних Ночей" which is one of the most haunting tracks. The music reminds me a lot of the old band The Moody Blues with some Jethro Tull folk elements. This floating ballad convinces with its narrative style and develops a magic atmosphere in this relatively short running time.

While the musicians in the band seem to be quite skilled, they definitely use too many keyboard passages and sound samples in my opinion. They should also focus on more gripping riffs and elaborate on their good ideas. The musicians often come around with a magic melody but they keep on continuing playing the same chords all the time or these melodies often come back so that this certain kind of magic floats away like the morning dew next to a foggy river. The vocals have some good aspects. The calm parts entirely convince while the more blackened parts are very solid in general but could vary more. A perfect example for all the things mentioned in this paragraphe is the closing "Біла Вежа". It's not a bad song but there are way too many strange samples, the melodies are dumbly repeated and create a hypnotizing but not truly passionate atmosphere and the vocals sound strong at first try but always turn out to stay the same throughout the whole track. The band often happens to waste their potential in their long tracks and there are almost just epic songs on this album.

In the end, I can understand why many people describe this band as promising and talented. The magic moments are there but they are simply too stretched. The good ideas are present but repeated too much. The songs could be amazing but are almost all several minutes too long and I normally have no problem with epic tracks. Fans of atmospheric, folkish and mostly slow black metal or ambient music or even shoegaze will surely like this record. Anybody else might not share the opinion that this record is a masterpiece and it's sometimes hard to sit through the entire album. If the band decides to do some shorter stuff, I would be willing to follow them and try their future works out again but they definitely need some changes.