Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Norot : "Nathrach"

Throwing the word occult  around has become trite. It's often used in association with artists who don't know the Black Sun from the Golden Dawn. When an project like Norot writes an album that explores the serpent archetype and it's relation to the gnosis, it's fair to say the term occult applies to some extent. From it's beginning the album is filled with atmospheric interludes and excursions. Not to fear some pretty convincing black metal is belched forth as well. It is not dependent on blast beats, but knows how to use them effectively while retaining a solid melodic base of dynamics. The tortured croak of the vocals narrates the slither into the abyss this exploration takes you on. Deliciously dissonant , yet unapologetic for it's dark melodic nature, Norot is not afraid to let actual singing seep into the cracks.

The worshipful adoration of song writing, never forces the tempo, this results in many mid-temp moments that might black metal traditionalists question if this is not blackened death metal. It pulls from the darkness as wider scope of emotions , than the one dimensional nature of death metal's in your face aggression. Even when it touches upon it's most ambient and melodic passages their is an unsettling somber quality to it, than makes it black metal in the same manner some of Blut Aus Nord's more experimental moments still retain the subtler venom of black metal. This is not to say the albums graceful interludes are metal at all, they aren't, but they do provide beautiful bridges to their more hateful counterparts. The taunt static buzz to the opening tremolo picking on "End of All Things" will turn some corpse painted frowns upside down, before it drifts off into a more shoe-gazey affair.

Hearing compact well written songs that don't overindulge in drawing out the drone into twenty epics is a nice change of pace. Norot still packs more dynamics into the three and half minute songs than many of this years more long winded bands have. I do think "End of All Things" would have been better served with drums driving it home. The album takes a turn down a darker and more dream like alley on "The Howling Void". There is a faint melody playing against a thick coat of subterranean atmosphere. What they so tightly coiled together up to this point begins to unravel here. They take you into deeper cave like level of murky sonics on "Sol Decendant".The vocals growl and gurgle up from the distant pits. The hypnotic throb here is on a much lower frequency. Swell of feedback and distortion growl like thunder, but never bring the storm.

The beginning of the song "Lunar Acendent"  floats into a more soaring tribal pound, that could be  an intro to a Fields of the Nephillim song. The vocals even take the same lower raspy cadence of Carl McCoy. The guitar tone on this song is pretty cool, but I prefer where the band was going in the first half of the album, it sounds like this project got side tracked by a day day dream and mid way through this album nothing had any tangible balls to hold this together. I'll around this downto a 7.5 since I am disappointed it didn't live up to it's potential and lost the momentum it built in the first half. but the first half is pretty damn impressive and I'll keep my ears out for what this guy does next.

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