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A departure, and sadly forgettable swan song - 50%

autothrall, November 2nd, 2009

This is the seventh and final offering from Germany's Nocte Obducta, a black metal band who have always had a folksy edge to their style, and I'll always remember their very simple, do-it-yourself album covers. Sequenzen einer Wanderung is their swansong, and offers somewhat of a departure from the previous material. There are only two tracks here, "Ende" and "Nebel II", with a total playtime of 44 minutes.

Now, for the departure...you won't find black metal at all on "Ende". It's a trippy, bluesy atmospheric prog rock/folk number that reminds me more of Pink Floyd than anything else. Subtle synths and vocal samples populate much of the track, and there is one point where some heavenly choirs and a heavier bluesy doom riff come in. "Nebel II" is just as experimental, though it features a lot more of the band's metal roots. Still, there is nothing here remotely black metal so I can't justify describing it as such.

The production is crystal clear, the songs have a curious atmosphere to them and since so much of this is so simple, the atmosphere is what really counts. To that extent, the album succeeds. But as far as being memorable, not so sure. You might like this as background music when you're reading a novel or studying, but I can't highly recommend it. It's not a bad disc, but if you're looking for a typical example of Nocte Obducta's style, search elsewhere, earlier in their catalog. Because this is quite different.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Need to get this off my chest! - 90%

pornstorestiffy, October 7th, 2009

For quite some time I have been meaning to get this review out of my head, and down in writing. For Nocte Obducta, I think the story behind this album is of a similar nature, albeit in musical terms. A true appreciation of this album cannot be attained without flashing a light down the path which has led to their divinity. For you the reader, this album is Nocte Obducta's divinty.

Nocte Obducta's career in retrospect is quite interesting. Throughout the six full lengths prior to Sequenzen einer Wanderung, Nocte Obducta have struggled to keep themselves consistent. This consistency however, is not something that falls into the category of a string of good albums, bad albums or average albums that accounts for most bands today. Moreover, the consistency of sound is what applies to Nocte Obducta here. It must be dispelled now that if you are someone who pains at seeing a band's evolution and transition within genres, this release is not you for. Yet, never once have the band been able to fit within the definitions of any genre. With black metal being the cornerstone of their sound, the band have always thrown in elements of progressive, classical, doom and the wanderings of ambience. The bands last two full lengths prior to this record however, have been their most experimental, but still upheld a predominantly black metal sound and aesthetic. Although progressive elements were very distinct, the two previous albums never pointed to this.

With Sequenzen einer Wanderung, Nocte Obducta have continued this progression of sound. Yet the change in sound is so drastic from their past release that it appears to be something that Nocte Obducta have had brewing for quite some time, and felt they just had to get out and onto a compact disk. Now on an indefinite hiatus, this clearly seems to be the case.

With this album, you will find two tracks both over 20 minutes. If you are expecting two cohesive songs with structure, you will be mistaken. What Nocte Obducta have done here with the time used for the two tracks is place a set of distinct riffs along essentially a timeline of ambience. Sounding as unappealing as it does, the spontaneous placing of riffs along a metaphorical timeline is actually executed to the upmost perfection to create a truly original record.

There is a variety of styles present in the riffs that compose the two songs. Whilst not being knowledgeable of the styles of music, I can easily conclude that aside from two or three riffs, little resonates with what the band has formerly composed. What can be found here is riffs guided by rock and progressive elements. The most exciting thing about this is that the songs are still accompanied with the chilling atmosphere that can be found on a record by bands such as Darkspace. Largely helping this atmosphere is the use of ambience, synths and stacato electronic melodies. The spontaneous placement of riffs spaced out by ambience and atmosphere is able to command many different emotions, and will have the listener begging in anticipation for what follows next.

Along with the change of style of the rhythms of the band, the vocal department is much the same. The two tracks are mostly instrumental, but some vocals drenched with layers and effects does make itself known at certain periods throughout the tracks. Accompanying the very seldom vocals is a lot of spoken word passages in German, and sometimes even conversations. This is a very interesting and effective element. It almost stands as a tool to make the listener relax, and with most not being able to understand what is actually being said, a somewhat of a mysterious vibe seeps out.

With Sequenzen einer Wanderung, Nocte Obducta got onto compact disk what they have seemingly been meaning to do for a while. The end product, while not seeming attractive on paper, is executed perfectly and is something that must be heard to be understood and appreciated.

Progressive - 99%

hailmarduk666, April 30th, 2009

I want to start off saying, that if you are looking for a black metal release by this German band, you can read this review and see that you will not get what you are looking for. In fact, this is anything BUT a black metal release. This is a straight up prog metal release, maybe with a touch (albeit a small one) of black metal. Two tracks, each clocking in at over 20 minutes is what compiles this release.

There really is no way to break down each song individually because they are both wandering tracks, going from good, fast riffs, to semi-ambient portions and interludes throughout. There are no screams except in the last 3 or so minutes of Nebel II, but there is an abundance of clean vocals, and spoken passages. I am not as savvy with this band as some, so I am not too sure as to whether this is a common occurance or not, but I, for one, was quite pleasantly surprised at hearing it. There are some spoken parts as well, but in German. I speak so very little, that I was unable to figure out what was being said.

The guitar work here is amazing. It definitely shows the musicians' talent, and their broad spectrum of prowess. From delicate fingerpicking, to monotonous doom-like influenced riffs, they basically meander through the entire spectrum of the metal world. I wonder if this band will continue this progressive path, or return to the more straight-forward symphonic/melodic black metal of their past catalogue. Nonetheless, they did not falter in their experimentation, and it is regarded by myself as a great success. I am always open to bands that try new things, and push the genre to new limits, because that keeps everything new and fresh. I definitely wouldn't listen to black metal much if everything sounded like Darkthrone's "Transylvanian Hunger". Even Dimmu Borgir is trying to transcend the boundaries of the bombastic and rediculous. So this is a momentous release, in the sense of Deathspell Omega's "Fas-" or "Si Monumentum" albums, totally pushing boundaries to limits. Fantastic.

So to sum it up, this release has everything in a nutshell of two songs, from ambient, spoken word, clean vocals, and black metal wails, and progressive rock to thrash riffs, from black metal and beyond. If you are looking for an challenging piece, something to keep things fresh and have you on the edge of your seat, this would be it for you. Despite not being anything like previous releases, N-O have broadened their spectrum of metal dominance, and their abuse of genre boundaries. A must have for anyone up for this type of challenge.