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Melodic Nordic metal with growled vocals - 65%

Lane, July 19th, 2012

Nocturnal Winds? O', fart and suffering?! Let's cut the crap straight away! Nocturnal Winds' second album follows on a path they trampled on debut 'Everlasting Fall' from 1999. The path is dark metal, sad and melodic way. But, nothing too sweet, I promise.

If the debut had some very minor connections to black metal, this one doesn't have one. Nocturnal Winds make their music is quite meandering, but sometimes it feels like the band wander into wrong directions, not a lot, but sometimes (the songs last 4½-9 minutes). The band's metal is very guitar driven, because there's almost always some lead guitar work going on over death / speed / heavy metal riffing. And guitarist (Jani Loikas plays everything except the drums) handles his instruments very well, I may add. Classical music also must have influences the band, I bet. If I'm to do some name dropping to give a hint, even it might be a vague one, here's a few: old Dark Tranquillity, old Opeth and Eternal Tears Of Sorrow. So I think it's safe to say this sounds thoroughly Nordic. ' The Seer and the Quietus' has quite a heavy prog rock influence to it, and is definitely one of the highlights on this album.

The biggest nag is the production job. I hoped it would be better than on the debut and it is, to some extent. It is more bassy, but no other improvements have been made. The sound is muddy and somewhat powerless, especially drums. The guitar duo are on the front of everything. This was totally self-recorded by the band... Next time around the band should try a producer from outside of the band! The another bad thing are vocals; they are very unvarying and they lack of power, plus pronunciation is bad, but that's not a surprise when talking about a Finnish band. Boring growling is partly interrupted by Yearning's Juhani Palomäki on doomy 'The Seer and the Quietus', but he doesn't succeed to amaze in any way, even though layered vocals sound good. It is the songs that will stuck into a listener's brain this time, not the vocals. Lyrically this is about dark matter of life and death, at times written in metaphorical way, which make the lyrics partly interesting and a tad different from usual styles. I just have to mention crappy PhotoShop cover artwork. Thankfully the music inside is way better!

'Erased' is the most rocking track on offer, but some of the songs are deeper and this ain't certainly an easy record. But play it more and it might weave its web around you. I like Nocturnal Winds because of their individuality. Definitely above average dark metal release, and worth checking out if names I dropped earlier stir up your appetite. But: You should start with the debut 'Everlasting Fall' in my opinion.

(originally written for in 2007)