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Noctambulist - Atmospheres of Desolation

Noctambulist
Atmosphere of Desolation
by Robert Amer at 03 December 2018, 6:18 AM

Hailing from the mile-high city of Denver, Colorado, technical blackened-death prospectors, NOCTAMBULIST, find themselves on a higher situational plane than many of their peers, and with the release of their first album, "Atmospheres of Desolation," they also demonstrate an elevated musicality. The quartet sounds as if they were assembled by the black metal-loving Norse Gods, who were in need of a band like this after their jealousy of Nile favoring the Egyptians reached an unexpected breaking point in 2016. Regardless, the ensemble delivers in a well-paced and dynamic debut.

"Dimming Lights Illuminate" establishes an eerie, barren setting, static with a suspense accentuated by ominous shrieks. This is followed by a brief silence from which chaos eventually bursts forth in the track, "Abnegation." The listener is instantaneously buried by an aural avalanche of unrelenting, varied, and intricate percussive and instrumental work. About a minute into the song, the guitar takes the foreground of the soundscape in a dissonant, but almost restful manner before the vocals and drums resume the sonic barrage.

The band aptly released "Atmospheres of Desolation" as an appetite whetter on Halloween. It is a suitable preview for the album, showcasing the organic and balanced variance between visceral brutality and bleak atmosphere so prominent throughout record in varying structural configurations. "Jubilant Cataclisym" starts with a heavy, yet spacey mid-tempo exposition in a song filled with jarring dynamic shifts. The title is a great description of the effect generated by the end's declamatory vocal patterns perforating the texture of churning, tectonic instrumental chaos.

"Denial of Autonomy" is a cauldron stewing with many of the elements present throughout the album, but it features an ingredient that has been merely peppered in a few places: high-pitched shrieks. In this track, the shrieks are sustained over a longer period of time, adding a nice touch, especially over the calmer passage towards the end. This effectively prepares the listener to be plunged into a breakdown, during which they are momentarily rejoined by lower grunts before the song is punctuated by a familiar motif— with shrieks! And finally, the album closes with one of its strongest tracks, "Habitual Falsehood." Mysterious arpeggios approach from the distance until the vocals and other instruments gradually direct the song down a heavier path. Throughout the song, the guitar adopts a blacker sound and leaves the listener wanting more in the unresolved ending.

"Atmospheres of Desolation" is an impressive first album promising great things to come from NOCTAMBLULIST it would be great to see it performed all at once. Since it clocks in at just under a half hour, the likelihood of unsuspecting ears at festivals and other concerts being swept away in its cacophonous current seems imminent.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dimming Lights Illuminate
2. Abnegation
3. Atmospheres of Desolation
4. Jubilant Cataclisym
5. Denial of Autonomy
6. Habitual Falsehood
Lineup:
S.M. - Throat
A.T. - Guitar
R.H. - Bass
M.N. - Drums
Record Label: Blood Harvest Records
     


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