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When an album is released via Metal On Metal Records, you know it’s going to be some good, old school metal. That’s why Maltese doomers Nomad Son fit in perfectly. Heavily influenced by traditional doom metal bands like Black Sabbath and Candlemass, the band is picking up right where they left off on 2008’s “First Light,” continuing their hard-edged, church organ-driven sound into their second full-length album, “The Eternal Return”.
Musically speaking, this album is very similar to the last, where the guitars range between slow, crawling riffs and fast-paced gallops (with the occasional solo thrown in.) The keyboard lines, often adopting the sound of a church organ, are not to be overlooked; they lend a more haunting feel to the album, especially on “Sigma Draconis” and “Winds of Golgotha”. There’s less experimentation on this album, most likely because Nomad Son knows what they’re doing and they do it well. They have a perfectly good sound as it is. However, a bit more variety would most definitely be welcome here. No, the album isn’t boring, but it is a bit repetitive.
Jordan Cutajar’s unmistakable vocals are even more tortured and less melodic here than the last album, sometimes whispering dark prophecies of doom, sometimes shrieking of Judgment Day. The lyrics are decidedly more Christian here, but if that surprises you, consider that the band is from Malta, after all. Don’t fret – this is still some very dark, very heavy music. Doom is the music, doom is the atmosphere, and doom is the theme, as this band seems hell-bent on recording a soundtrack for the apocalypse. (Pun not intended. Well, maybe a little.)
(Originally published in Destructive Music Webzine: http://destructive-music.com/?p=1638)
This is the second album of Nomad Son and just like their first one, it's high quality doom. Malta isn't a place where you expect metal to be created, hey, they just legalized divorce there, it's a pretty religious country. But Nomad Son is a band who's integrating Christianity into their lyrical themes. They do it without the over top cheesiness which exist in bands like Place of Skulls (a quality band, but their Jesus-in-your-face lyrics don't do much for me). So, Nomad Son is evolving in the small doom scene of Malta alongside the better known band, Forsaken. Both are sharing Jowita Kaminska as the album art artist, whose style is apt to the spiritual and serious music of these guys. They also share the same bassist, so look no further for a comparative band, but there's some differences between the two bands from this small European island.
What we have here is a mix between traditional doom and a more vintage sound. I think the proeminent use of the keyboard is quite original and invigorating. We have some keys leads here and there, like on the second song, Sigma Draconis or in Comatose Souls. It's often used as a second lead guitar, something like vintage bands like Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple were doing. It's also used as a stand alone instrument, the intro of the album's epic Winds of Golgotha is a proof of that. It's done quite well, not too fancy and not only there to create a ''background'' to the guitars. The keyboardist and the guitarist are also brothers, so maybe the chemistry between the two instruments is coming from this. Nomad Son is a really talented band, their riffs are solid and the other musicians are also top notch. The solos are always cool and not forced on the listener. It's a band who's searching the right atmospheres without doing compensations on its solid and direct songwriting. The songs are lengthy but they're not suffering from unnecessary and boring parts, something doom bands tend to include.
Something which took me several listenings to get used to are the vocals. But when I get used to them, I really loved them. They are somewhat unusual for traditional doom, but Nomad Son isn't usual for this style either. They're quite raspy and high, imagine an higher Dio mixed with some of the rawer side of NWOBHM (Venom & Atomkraft), also some of the lower parts of King Diamond's vocals. Anyway, the vocals of Jordan Cutajar aren't as polarising as the ones of Lee Dorrian, he's a good singer with lots of pipes. Like the other musicians, he's both able to transmit atmospheres and more aggressive vocals lines. The title track can be a good judge for the dual ability of the singer. The song starts slowly by some awesome melodic vocals to go forward to his more rawer vocals. I think the better comparison I can give is Terry Jones (Pagan Altar) but less nasal. Both of these singers are in very original bands who aren't thrown in the bunch of other similar traditionnal doom bands.
If you're looking for some original doom which is both influenced by the American and the European scenes, look no further. Here's a good mix of epic, traditional doom and a touch of atmospheric keyboards here and there. Enjoy the ride to Malta's doom.