Noctambulist
The Barren Form


3.5
great

Review

by Fernando Alves STAFF
July 5th, 2021 | 27 replies


Release Date: 06/30/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Denver's dissonant sleepwalkers once again roam the realms of despair, but now in less atmospheric grounds.

Of the dissonant vortex that emerged in the past decade, the debut album by Denver's Noctambulist was among those that excited me the most; not exactly for its originality but rather for its overwhelming dark ambiance, which pulled me into a dimension that is as disturbing as it is engaging. There's something inexplicably alluring about Atmospheres of Desolation that puts it in a place of its own; somewhere close to stylistically nearby neighbors like Altarage or Ulcerate, yet at the same time sufficiently distant to acquire a distinct identity. That discordant personality, coupled with an enveloping oppressive atmosphere, shaped an auspicious first chapter that put Noctambulist on the map while creating anticipation about their upcoming installments.

The first thing that struck me about the single, 'Depletion', was the absence of the foggy ambiance featured on the previous release, as I considered it to be an essential part of the band's foundations. This aspect, combined with a more polished production and shrill high-pitched mastering, immediately suggested that The Barren Form would take on a more crystalline aesthetic. We are, therefore, facing a different approach to sound engineering, which highlights the band's willingness to avoid creative loops, at least when it comes to sound design. Noctambulist, however, counterbalances this limpid chromatic by adding approximately ten minutes of instrumental ambiance, spread between the album's introduction, 'Exordium', and the ending of practically every song. This Schammasch-ish mystic layer present in tracks such as 'Depletion' and 'Dissolution' thus mirrors the emphasis the band places on its atmospheric surroundings, even when it takes a sonic detour.

Despite the aforementioned divergent sound approach, the band's style remains essentially unchanged, still relying on an overwhelming dissonant assault, mostly orbiting blast beat tempos and blackened tremolo picking, intertwined with dynamic power chords. Given the sharper production, the technical details are now more evident, namely the guitar intricacies and colossal drumming which reach their peak on 'Infinitesimal', the album's majestic highlight. Sean McConnell's vocals, even if less reverberated, still exude the same demented ferocity, lending the music a trademark aggressiveness that not only ties it to the previous release but also solidifies the band's personality. However, regardless of its pronounced character and undeniable songwriting prowess, there is a somewhat flat, one-dimensional feel to The Barren Form, which neither the instrumental nuances nor the tempo contrasts manage to dissipate. A lack of atmosphere, I would say; an absence of invisible space in-between capable of conferring greater ambiance and drama to the outcome.

Two years after their first awakening, Denver's dissonant sleepwalkers once again roam the realms of despair, but now in less atmospheric grounds. This polished approach, while somehow creating contrast with the previous nightmare, prevents the band from moving into more surrealistic dimensions, where they naturally belong. The Barren Form is thus an incomplete creature, which never found the suitable surroundings to develop to its fullest. This incompleteness, however, is not without its virtues, as it enhances both the lads' technical skills and creative irreverence, assuring us that their introspective, dark journey is far from over.




Recent reviews by this author
Worm ForevergladeVeilburner Lurkers in the Capsule of Skull
Carcass Torn ArteriesReplicant Malignant Reality
Aborted ManiaCultQrixkuor Poison Palinopsia
user ratings (35)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2021


16788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Guess I'm stuck in a 3.5 limbo. Good stuff, although I think the band would gain from a more atmospheric production.

Full stream:

http://noctambulist1.bandcamp.com/album/the-barren-form

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Existence Is Futile

DDDeftoneDDD
July 5th 2021


18859 Comments


Another one already? cool

Digging: Mannveira - Vitahringur

Sniff
July 5th 2021


7219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm going in. Atmospheres ruled hope this does too

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2021


9274 Comments


Need to listen to this.

Digging: Jep and Dep - Word Got Out

Sniff
July 5th 2021


7219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just want the prod that was on Atmospheres tbh

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2021


16788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Production and mastering were my main issue since musically the band doesn't stray too far from the debut. 'Infinitesimal' is a great jam.

Funeralopolis
July 5th 2021


14570 Comments


Good review, this sounds kind of lame - like a neutered Ulcerate

Azog
July 5th 2021


593 Comments


Yeah, they're kinda tapping the same vein. Not quite as good, not by a long shot.

Still a pretty decent listen though. Wouldn't mind returning to this, every once in a while.

Digging: Skepticism - Companion

Hyperion1001
Emeritus
July 5th 2021


20907 Comments


dissodeath doesnt always do it for me but this looks worth at least a spin.

great review as always.

Digging: Fuego Eterno - El Arte De Lo Oculto

ShadowRemains
July 5th 2021


26652 Comments


the best "dissodeath" is usually when the dissonance isn't front and center

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
July 5th 2021


16788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks guys

Donchivo
July 5th 2021


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review! this sounds good on first listen, but I share your grief regarding the production...

Digging: Hellwitch - Transgressive Sentience

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2021


16788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm usually not picky about it, but in this case it seemed relevant.

Pon
Staff Reviewer
July 6th 2021


5169 Comments


Gotta jam this. What I heard of it sounded gnarly.

normaloctagon
July 7th 2021


6541 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is pretty sick thx for writing it up

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
July 7th 2021


16788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you for reading it.

Dedes
July 9th 2021


7889 Comments


Ngl this sounds p dope. These days I've kind of fallen out from dissodeath aside from big boys like Ulcerate but maybe I'll check this at some point today.
Time to stop looping the same 3 Bolt Thrower songs on repeat for a little while

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
July 9th 2021


16788 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Looping Bolt Thrower is never a bad thing.

Donchivo
July 9th 2021


1314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

which are your songs for the BT loop?



Mine usually are Mercenary, Silent Demise and When Cannons Fade

sonictheplumber
July 9th 2021


13715 Comments


not into these vocs

Digging: Soundtrack (Film) - Dirty Dancing



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 2005-2019 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy