Review Summary: This was really only their first demo?1 of 1 thought this review was well written
There's really no beating around the bush, Nokturnal Mortum have been one of the best bands at blending ferocious black metal with soothing folk music since their creation in the year 1994. However, some people have written the band off simply because of their association with lyrics about National Socialism and Neo-Nazi ideologies. To be quite honest, this is a very common misconception about the band. Their lyrics focus more on Paganism than any Nazi beliefs and only their 2000 album, NeChrist
, had any strong influences of National Socialism. It's really a shame that people won't listen to the band just because of that because, like I mentioned, they're one of the best bands at what they do and they proved that right from the beginning. This demo, Twilightfall
, is the first demo and first overall release for Nokturnal Mortum and by taking a few listens to this, you'd think they'd been doing it for years.
Let me just start by saying, everything about this album is absolutely fantastic. The way the band blends together purely instrumental folk tracks, straight-up black metal, and sometimes a mixture of both is just incredible. There are plenty of folk instruments used from their homeland of Ukraine as well as keyboards to give them a melodic and atmospheric energy. The most impressive thing about this demo is the fact that the electric instruments are very technical proficient. All of the riffs are pretty intricate and not something you would normally hear from a black metal album. Usually with this type of black metal you get repetitive, trance inducing riffs. Well Nokturnal Mortum don't go for that. There's a whole lot of variation throughout the demo and they definitely keep you guessing. There's also several solos performed during the 50 minutes that the demo goes on for and all of them are tight and not sloppily played at all. So if you're someone who doesn't like your black metal to be very samey, Twilightfall
could be just the thing for you. The drumming here kind of takes a back seat the guitar playing, but that doesn't mean it's not noticeable. There's lots of blast beats, of course, and then there's a lot of slower and mid-paced stuff while the folk instruments are in the forefront, so there's variation there too.
If you're familiar with Nokturnal Mortum's other works, you know that the vocalist and mastermind behind the band, Knjaz Varggoth, is an extremely talented harsh vocalist. However on this demo, his voice isn't as developed as it was on later Nokturnal Mortum albums. Not to say that his vocal performance is bad in any way because that just wouldn't be true at all. It just seems like on this demo he hasn't quite found his niche yet and he's still trying to figure out his style. His voice is a little it more grating on the ears here and it sounds a little bit hoarse. Like I said though, it's the band's first ever release, so it's excusable. That would just be nitpicking something that's wrong with the demo and to be honest, it doesn't drag it down whatsoever because his vocals are still pretty damn good.
Overall, this was a fantastic start for a band that has only gotten better with each and every album they've put out. Nokturnal Mortum is without a doubt up there with bands like Primordial when it comes to the top quality bands that blend both black metal and folk music from their native countries. Even on the first material they ever put out, this band proves why they are considered to be in the upper tier of black metal acts in the modern scene and they don't seem to be slowing down any time soon.