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A New, More Diverse Nokturnal Mortum - 95%

BanginTheDead, December 29th, 2009

When the first notes of the album hit, you'd think you were listening to NeChrist. The same Ukrainian [war horn] is sound off, though instead of going into the blasting fury of Funeral Winds of Oriana we are treated to a folky piece that serves as a wonderful introduction into Voice of Steel. This song is powerful and direct, making use of some stringed instrumentation and choir-like vocals that add great effect to the atmosphere. Right away you can notice something new and different about Nokturnal Mortum. The song picks up about midway through, getting faster and more intense, flowing into some sounds of war that carry the track to it's end.
Valkyrie starts off strong, with some great mid paced riffing and double bass. About a third of the way through, we are really given something unique as a bluesy/proggy lead comes blaring out. This really carries the song to a new plateau as it leads into some more distortion and a driving drum sound. Some excellent clean backing vocals provided by W. Angel really push the song back into a faster pace section. The song begins to fade out as sounds of the ocean fade in.

Coming straight out of the peace are the folky instrumentation of Ukraine. Another mid paced black metal piece that makes use of the clean backing vocals again. This song has an almost anthemic quality to it when the chorus comes in with some powerful repeating clean lines, backed by Varggoth's screams. Leading out of that is yet another beautiful lead with a quality tone. Following that the anthem continues until the piece fades out into more sounds of the ocean. We are carried away to My Dream Islands, which begins with some nice synth work and a slower paced distorted riff. The song then slows to a bluesy guitar piece and erupts back into mid paced black metal with those lovely synth accompaniments. This track seems to make the most use of keys, playing their gorgeous symphonics over the riffing, actually pushing the song's momentum forward. The song breaks down again towards the midsection with some slow riffs over some distant and distorted vocals and keyboard passages before an absolutely wonderful lead is presented. Breaking out of that is another proggy lead that explodes until an all out wall of sound. The song again, fades into some ocean sounds until the drums of By Path of the Sun come in. This song starts out with some more yelling styled vocals, until it explodes into black metal rage. The synths assist this with some epic atmospheres. Some folk passages are added as well, while the music continues to stay fast paced and intense.

Sky of Saddened Nights begins with some acoustic and clean tremelo. A more folk inspired song, this continues on with some clean-ish vocals. Some flutes and keys are introduced as the song builds. White Tower begins with some eerie synth chords out of which smooth clean lines and played over more a rock-inspired drum line. The song builds into a mid paced riff with harsh vocals screamed over and more epic synths. The feeling of this piece is very spacey and depressing. The song remains this way for it's entirety, though building to more climatic moments. A very strong closer for a very strong album. The Voice of Steel has really shown that Nokturnal Mortum is capable of broadening their musical boundaries. As an avid fan of most of their work I can say that I really enjoy this new direction. An extremely well thought out album full of intense emotions.