Genre: Black Metal
1. When the Shadows
2. Magnum Innominandum
3. Serenade of the Impure
4. Darkest Sanctum
5. The Orb of Parasites
I was looking at some demo tapes on a distro I buy from and stumbled upon this band. I had never heard of them before, nor did I listen to any samples of the band. I picked this up purely on how attractive the art was, see how important good art can be for motivating someone to make a purchase? Anyway, Noctiferum come out of Austria and this is their first demo. Luckily the art reflects the quality of the music. This demo is limited to 358 hand-numbered copies and I have #196.
I was, naturally, expecting something cold and dark in a very occult vein and I think Noctiferum basically lives up to that expectation. Actually, I think they wound up being a little better than my original expectations, but I didn't have much to go on before. While Noctiferum aren't necessarily bringing anything totally new to the scene, they do give us five superbly composed songs. Actually I think they've managed to blend the Swedish and Norwegian sounds of Black Metal together very well. There are times when you hear some of that twisted feel common to the Norwegian and French scenes, but written in such a cold and venomous delivery like we hear most common from the Swedish scene. Not only do they bring out this haunting form of Black Metal, but they'll blend acoustic sections into their songs which give it a bit of a different feel. I think this really breaks up the atmosphere rather than just a wall of Black Metal like most bands will do. This combination of elements makes for a fairly varied and very excellent listen for just about any Black Metal fan.
Since this is a demo tape, I know production might be a concern for some readers. Let me tell you not to be worried. This was clearly recorded in a pretty good studio and everything is mixed very well. Despite the inclusion of many different elements everything sounds very well done. You can really hear everything in the mix and no single element overwhelms the mix... if only some studio releases were mixed this well! As I mentioned the cover is really what caught my eye for this release and now that I have the whole packaging in hand it really is quite interesting. Instead of a typical plastic tape case, this tape is housed in a sort of cardboard box. You see blood stains, which you only assume are human blood, on some parts of the flap. When you open the flap you see a lot of the inside is covered in blood, the tape is fine though. Inside you'll find a professionally pressed tape and page torn out of the Torah. The page I got was from Numbers pages 209 and 210. I don't know if they took the same page out of a bunch of Torah's or just took one Torah and sent pages to people. Anyway, this aesthetic was perfect for this music and it really helped set a good stage for the listening experience before I put the actual music on.
This is the only release BASC has put out so far and I really hope it isn't the last. The dedication to esoteric art is really well done. Médan Savamhel is an excellent artist and if you look through his artistic work that is plainly seen, so I hope this is not the last we hear of him. In the end I would consider this worth hearing and it is definitely a band to watch in the future. They definitely have the potential to push things further and I would like to see them publish something more unique sounding. For now "Serenades of the Impure" is a good starting point for a new project. Now we close with the best song title on the demo "The Orb of Parasites"... it was a toss up between "Darkest Sanctum" the other excellent track on the demo.