Nokturnal Mortum
Goat Horns


4.5
superb

Review

by Tyler Munro EMERITUS
December 17th, 2006 | 99 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Two keyboards, intricate and epic compositions and all around good music make Goat Horns an essential listen.

Nokturnal Mortum really suprises me. It's not the fact they have two keyboardists, their NS ideals or the silly purple cover. Nokturnal Mortum surprises me because they've found a balance between innovation and black metal clich├ęs. And they do all of this without seeming like a total novelty.

If you hadn't guessed by the mention of dual keyboard action, Nokturnal Mortum plays the often scrutinized brand of Symphonic Black Metal, but Dimmu Borgir this is not. Their unique approach is more than a novelty; one keyboardist typically lays the more sustained parts, giving the album an atmospheric feel, while atop the atmosphere sits the flashier keyboard work, which relies on symphonic leads. The dynamic use of keyboards adds a layer of depth and a sense of intricacy, as well as a nice thin layer of cheese.

After a Summoning-like overture, Kuyaviya introduces the listener instantly to what NM will be providing for the rest of the album. A surprisingly non-descript guitar raises a common debate in the black metal world: production. The production on Goat Horns is not really that bad, it's more the levels of the instruments that cause problems. While you can hear everything, the keyboards and drums are a little overpowering, though for some that's not necessarily a bad thing. The oddly quiet guitars are buried in the mix, and sonically find themselves somewhere between crunchy and thin, which to me is perfection, and unlike the more or less awful bass work, provide interesting riffs and progressions, often carried by the flashier of the two keyboardists. The drums are typically mid-paced, but shine with striking and intricate fills, though sound wise it does sound a little like they're programmed, but I assure you, it's Munruthel playing everything you hear. Levelling issues aside, the album is strong production wise, finding a balance between clear and raw.

Epic is the only way to describe Goat Horns; excluding the intro and outro, every song on the album falls somewhere between 7-12 minutes. The band has received some flack for being loosely affiliated with the National Socialist Black Metal scene, though unlike many bands with similar ties NM never seem to use it as their main attraction, at least not on this album. In fact, if I hadn't mentioned their NSBM ties, one could easily listen to this album without realizing they're existence. In short, Goat Horns is an album as powerful as it is epic, as violent as it is melodic, and it contains each of the former in massive quantities. Nokturnal Mortum delivers a healthy blend of folk (Kolyada), symphonics (Black Moon Overture and Eternal Circle), raspy vocals and outstanding instrumentation (other than the atrocious bass work) that's neither overtly flashy or pathetically primitive. And with a healthy dose of second-wave inspired black metal to boot, the contrast of beauty and ferocity is in full effect on this album. From the unexpected clean vocals on Kolyada to the complex pizzicato lead on Veles' Scrolls, Goat Horns brings interesting twists to an otherwise standardized genre. A must own for fans of Black Metal, Folk Metal and the like.

Cons:
Bass (Atrocious)
Guitars (Buried)

Pros:
Everything Else



Recent reviews by this author
Masked Intruder Masked IntruderAtheist Jupiter
Aeon Path of FireAdam Haworth Stephens We Live on Cliffs
Autopsy The Tomb WithinOrbs Asleep Next to Science
user ratings (119)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Kyle Ward STAFF (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyler
Emeritus
December 17th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's a lot shorter than I thought it was...

Neoteric
December 17th 2006


3243 Comments


It's still not a short review.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 17th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think I summarized it plenty though. Any feedback? I'm new to the whole "concise" thing.

MrKite
December 17th 2006


5020 Comments


I thought it was pretty short. I liked it, though because it was quick and all that junk.

Apocalypticon
December 17th 2006


22 Comments


I would have liked it alittle bit longer, but other than that it is a good review. This is my favouriet NM album after Lunar Poetry.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 17th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well I couldn't think of anything to add, I wanted it to be a concise overview rather than an in-depth description of everything.

I'll gladly lengthen it, just tell me what I should add.This Message Edited On 12.17.06

Shadows
Moderator
December 17th 2006


2530 Comments


I thought this was a great review. The only Nokturnal Mortum albums I have experience with are NeChrist and The Gates of Blasphemous Fire. They weren't bad but didn't catch my interest like other Ukrainian folk black metal does. However, the concept of two keyboard makes me want to investigate this.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 17th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

You really should, this album impressed me instantly upon first listen.

Txus
December 18th 2006


75 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sweet review as always, Tyler. I love this album even if people say LP is their best I disagree, I think this is their best album. It's so rich musically speaking.

Tyler
Emeritus
December 19th 2006


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I prefer this to LP, definitely.

Cravinov13
June 19th 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is a great album.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2007


16410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I want this, now.

The two keyboard concept sounds great. I'll keep an eye out for this next time im at the CD store.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Memoria Vetusta III ? Saturnian Poetry

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2007


16410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well apparently this CD seems hard to find... Amazon.com says its "currently unavailable". I hope I find this somewhere, if not what other albums by these guys are as good as this one?

Cravinov13
July 2nd 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Weltanschauung, To the Gates of Blasphemous Fire, and Return Of The Vampire Lord Ep are all good releases of theirs.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 2nd 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lunar Poetry is the most like this, it also has the Return of the Vampire Lord track.
Weltanschauung is not like this at all, really. It's a lot more folky, and a lot less synthesized. It's a lot longer, too, and definitely more diverse. To the Gates of the Blasphemous Fire is more fast-paced and sort of like Emperor, but better.

Cravinov13
July 2nd 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

He just asked what else to check out by them, you don't have to upstage me.

Tyler
Emeritus
July 2nd 2007


7926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wasn't trying to upstage you, I was just saying what the albums were, because Lunar Poetry and the EP are the only ones stylistically similar to this.

Cravinov13
July 2nd 2007


3854 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

You make me cry. You've broken my heart.

Actually, Lunar Poetry is good too, I just havn't heard it in a long time.

jrowa001
July 2nd 2007


8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this album is pretty cool. havent listened to it in a long time though

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2007


16410 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Alright I'll keep an eye out for lunar poetry if I can't find this.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy