Review Summary: Dark and powerful symphonic black metal, courtesy of Nicholas Cages' son.
If I said to you that this band was formed by the son of the ghost rider Nicholas Cage, your reaction would likely be the same as mine when I first heard; 'What the f**k????' all of the pieces for a horriying collapse are in place; son of an actor forming a symphonic black metal band, you expect disaster to follow. But fear not, Eyes of Noctum
have pulled of a decent symphonic black metal album.
Most importantly, Weston Cage, going by the stage name Arcane, vocalist for this endeavour, is very, very good. He has a powerful roar of a voice that can range from a deep seated growl to a high screech reminiscent of Dani Filth in his glory days. The vocals follow the lines of the music very well, coming across as more melodic than standard black metal vocals, a good example of this can be found on Devils Wind
. His cleans as well, though rarely employed are deep, melodic and definitely unexpected considering the source, Phantasma Nocturna
and God's Second Hand
show of the cleans well. Though he possesses a powerful range, he unfortunately doesn't exercise it enough I find, though it doesn't draw much from the album, it would of been great to here the range more utilised. His lyrics, whilst nothing ground breaking for the genre, mainly dealing with anti-Christianity and war, are at least not at cringe worthy as other bands, and fit the sound the band create well. As the main source of criticism for this band, it is wholly by the looks of things, uncalled for.
The symphonic aspect, an orchestra that is employed on the album, is used well, adding an extra dimension to the music, making it more grand and full, backing up the music, used often as intros or in breaks, but never drawing attention from the band or interfering with the sound. In some songs it is not used at all, in others it is a big part, such as in Declaration of War
but it never sounds out of place, like in some Dimmu Borgir
or Cradle of Filth
where the orchestration can become overwhelming. The band has clearly drawn influences from 90s black metal bands, such as Emperor
, Dimmu Borgir
and Cradle of Filth
and it has helped shape the sound of this band well.
In terms of actual instrumentation, nothing on here is going to shock, whilst each member is clearly proficient with their instrument of choice, there is nothing fancy at work here, the riffs are powerful and employ a range, from standard power chords, to fast tremolo picking, but nothing flowery or overtly technical is used. The same goes with the drums, some decent patterns are used, and the double bass pedal is used excellently and reaches some decent paces, but the drummer is no Inferno, and won't win any medals.
This is a very good record, this band has received a lot of hate for the presence of Weston amongst their midst, and it is rather undeserved, he has provided excellent vocals to an excellent black metal album, it is a great shame that this will be their only album, but for anyone into symphonic black metal, this is a must have.
Eyes of Noctum
Thy Fire Within
Garden of Temptation