Review Summary: A sound of ancient times.
I can’t say I am very familiar with Nokturnal Mortum, which is a shame because ff of their most recent outing “Verity” the band shows a striking ability to create something both joyfully entertaining and austere at the same time. The record is rather bold, and yet never so much that it begins to sound overly-stern and bland. This is probably due to the wonderfully upbeat folk instrumentation and epic chants. Now, at times this can become a crutch for the band, however it is one that is done wonderfully so. This isn’t to say there aren’t occasionally interesting drum fills or guitar leads however, as the track “Song of the Snowstorm” does well to show. While sparsely used, the guitar solos certainly have a bit of bite to them, as does the vibrant and climactic drumming.
However, like I had said earlier, the folk influence is what really takes precedence here. There is a myriad of different instruments (perhaps too many to count) that paint the vivid imagery of an ancient, crumbling Eastern European street market. At times, it can border being rather eerie, such as off the fourth track “Spruce Elder”. It’s harrowing, yet still in that playful gather-round-the-campfire-and-tell-ghost-stories kind of way. All this is extremely complimented by the gargantuan shouts of Knjaz Vargoth, which are both raspy and vicious yet surprisingly accessible. Their are plenty of strong hooks off this record, which can be especially attributed to Vargoth. This is strongly present off of tracks like “Black Honey” which will be sure to make you gather your mead and courage and lock yourself into battle with anyone in your way.
“Verity” is the soundtrack that encompasses the heart of everything that is Eastern European. It firmly plants itself in its roots, and, with a voice of steel, echoes across the Ukraine. The effect of this is, unfortunately, marred slightly by the mildly lengthy run time (74 minutes), but I digress. Whether it be the bold, hearty spoken word off of “Night of the Gods”, or the war cries off of the aforementioned “Spruce Elder”, this album will almost definitely transport you into a whole new dimension. Of course, in this dimension there is no internet or computers to read this review on, but who needs reviews when you’re chugging beers with a squadron of peasant slaying knights"