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Dangerous Atmospheres - 78%

DeadFetus, February 21st, 2004

Slovenian death metallers Noctiferia have quite an impressive debut album here. Per Aspera is doomy death metal with sparse classical instrumentation included. It's not a terribly unique idea, but is quite well done on this release. Usually the problem with bands that include "symphonic" elements is that they drown out everything metal about an album. When there are more violins than guitars the album ceases to be metal and becomes an exercise in dick-sucking garbage. Noctiferia avoid this quite well: the violin elements stay in the background and their powerful riffs and competent songwriting shine through. When the symphony comes in, it is used minimally with great effect, either continuing the great buildup of the guitars or setting the dark mood of each section of the album.

The strength of this album is its consistency. Track after track is catchy and well written. There are no standout songs, but at the same time no track deserves the skip button either. While being Noctiferia's greatest strength, I don't see this album having incredible replay value, and would like to see them expand on a few of their ideas because the talent is obviously there to make a standout death metal album.

Overall this album has a dark, somber, crazed feeling. This could very well be a symphony created by a group of slightly deranged composers. While not disturbed enough to warrant any notice, this is an album that may just catch one off guard and captivate you with its maddening atmosphere and grim instrumentation.

Originally Published @ (c) 2004