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Narbeleth - Svmma Cvm Nox Arcana Award winner

Svmma Cvm Nox Arcana
by Ricardo “Lebzul” Brenes at 03 August 2021, 2:19 AM

NARBELETH is a Black Metal band from Cuba, formed by Dakkar in 2008. Based in Galicia Spain since 2018. Along with a Demo and an EP this is their fifth album, so the band has had a productive career so far.

I was scorched by hellish flames the minute I played this on my stereo. Hell yes! Now we’re talking! I was brought back to a time when Black Metal was so mighty and powerful it was feared by some, right before it also turned into joke for a while as things got out of hand in both behavior, ideas and looks. This is the sound of the raw vein that somehow became the true standard for the “Black Metal sound”. It reminds me a lot of SATYRICON during the mid-90’s. As I said, as soon as the opening “Nox Arcana” started, I basically time-traveled to those glorious days of pure filth and aggression, crowned by the grim melodies and dark passages the genre is well-known for.

Not everything is diabolical speed and blast beats, there are extremely pleasing mid-tempo sections that transmit that feeling of grandeur and might. Two of my favorite tracks on this album are not precisely the fastest or most aggressive; “A Throne Over the Seven Stars” and “Moon of a Thousand Shapes” are absolutely outstanding, the last one containing a nice acoustic interlude at 2:11.

Gates of the Beyond” is a great mix of both the rawness and the dark calm before the storm. Most songs average 5 minutes so none is too long as to feel overwhelmed. “Towards the Most Primitive Matter of Our Nature” is just epic, a contemplative ode to the luminous one. “Hear the Pale Moon Speak the Arcane Secrets” has that melodic riffing combined with the raw vocals that I liked a lot in bands like ABYSSOS, while early IMMORTAL, MARDUK and even IMPALED NAZARENE come to my mind. Again, the use of acoustics on this track makes it varied and elaborate, the notes and variants make it colorful and complex. An intense and refreshing dose of old school evil music. Oh yeah, and top that with a cover of “The Boiling Blood” (NETTLECARRIER) that will tear your soul to pieces.

I hadn’t listened to any of their previous efforts before so I was pretty curious about this one, and it blew me away. I didn’t expect (of course) to find that the best Scandinavian Black Metal I’ve listened to in quite a while, actually comes from Cuba, but wow! it does. An amazing album no fan of the style should miss.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Nox Arcana
2. Cold Whisper Carried by the Wind
3. A Throne Over the Seven Stars
4. Gates of the Beyond
5. Moon of a Thousand Shapes
6. Towards the Most Primitive Matter of Our Nature
7. Hear the Pale Moon Speak the Arcane Secrets
8. The Boiling Blood
Dakkar – All Instruments, Vocals
Vindok – Drums
Record Label: Folter Records


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Edited 09 December 2022

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