Sunday 13 January 2019

Noctambulist - Atmospheres Of Desolation

Labels: Blood Harvest Records/Helter Skelter Productions
Formats: Vinyl/CD/Tape/Digital
Release Date: 21 Jan 2019


1. Dimming Lights Illuminate
2. Abnegation
3. Atmospheres Of Desolation
4. Jubilant Cataclisym
5. Denial Of Autonomy
6. Habitual Falsehood

The underground is bristling with bands that seemingly out of nowhere are becoming coveted by not just fans of extreme metal but also by labels. Look at the rise of bands like Outer Heaven (USA), Outre Tomb (Canada), Tomb Mold (Canada) et al over the past twelve months and you'll notice a theme; death metal. US/CAN DM to be more precise is laying many ears to waste and there's no sign of it slowing down. Blood Harvest Records has long been synonymous with the metal of death and now they're bringing you Denver (Colorado, US) band Noctambulist and their debut album, "Atmospheres Of Desolation". Coming from a band with only one prior recorded song, this epitomises how quickly things are moving below the surface. Let's see how Noctambulist fare. 

The first song of an album should grab the listener and pull them in. It should show them exactly what they’re getting into and why they should stay listening to a record. Attention grabbing in this day and age is good and it’s exactly what Noctambulist does with Dimming Lights Illuminate. It’s filled with sewer-like atmosphere and a ridiculous amount of feedback/ambient noise that envelopes the percussion and guitars, and which sticks around as the sickening growls bring this short piece to a close. What follows is blasting, technical and metallic death metal that spares nobody. Abnegation is an absolute riff-monster, which shows Noctambulist at their vicious best. It’s unlike a lot of current DM in that it’s not gore-obsessed nor just another take on Swe-death. There’s an air of originality to it. 

The raging noise that was eluded to in the record’s opener is more than present on Atmospheres Of Desolation and it’s here that you get a true sense of the mastery that exudes from the band. The song-writing is such that Noctambulist doesn’t come across as being too highbrow, meaning fans dipping their toes into underground death metal will get as much from this as those who call themselves veteran listeners. The introspective moments especially point to that and despite the venomous delivery, there’s also real musicality here. Chugging isn’t something you’d associate with the more forward thinking bands in the genre, but it’s present during Jubilant Cataclisym (in very small proportions). It adds a modern slant to Noctambulist’s death metal and it does add something to their sound, breaking up the technicality. Extra atmospheric guitar work towards the end gives it a feeling of real grandeur as well.

These songs are about average length but the sheer amount of music that fits into them is something else altogether. Penultimate song Denial Of Autonomy is probably the fastest song of all and that description doesn’t even do it justice. This is the stark realisation that all of your hopes and dreams are crashing around you and all chances of rescuing them are futile. It’s like waking up with sleep paralysis and not being able to move, ever. The final deathly hymn on “Atmospheres Of Desolation” is also the longest. Habitual Falsehood starts with a build-up that’s in place to create anticipation and following it is some of the darkest and dankest mid-paced death metal you’ll hear, interspersed with grinding ferocity that Noctambulist does so well. The angular riffs and metallic nature of it maintains listener interest really well and helps to round out an album that’s pretty much perfectly proportioned to these ears. Noctambulist doesn’t mess about with an overtly lengthy record. They’re too-the-point and because of that they have much more impact.

You can stream the title-track and pre-order the record below:-

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