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Nocturnal Nightmare - Abstrakt Sinne

Nocturnal Nightmare
Abstrakt Sinne
by Andrew Graham at 07 December 2021, 9:28 PM

In their debut album Swedish Depressive Suicidal Black Metal (DSBM) act NOCTURNAL NIGHTMARE drag their listeners down into the foul depths of self-loathing, doubt and despair and calls on us to shout into the abyss with them. Black Metal itself requires a certain suspension of disbelief, DSBM doubly so! The slow, dreary and dirge-like melodies and shrieking vocals, whilst a tad ridiculous on surface listening, nonetheless immerse the listener into a dark and haunted inner world. The astute reader might well be wondering what the appeal is, I’m getting to that!

This is not mere self-indulgent self-hatred; there is method here. True visions of despair that so blatantly and unflinchingly stare into the black abyss can remind a person how much they have to be thankful and grateful for. On another level, they show those in genuine despair that they are not alone, and that is, I believe, so important (another great example of this would be America’s NONE).

Introductory track “Självhat” opens with an internal monologue of misery and depression. We get a broad spectrum of paces and melodies which show all this band is capable of. Dark, broody melancholy. In fact, it goes beyond mere melancholy, this is darkness pure and simple. The tone is most definitely set here, and the listener cannot reasonably expect anything less.

“Allt Och Inget” really dials up the black mood (or should that be, dials down?) Deeply distressed minor chords and mournful melodies accentuate Grotesk’s vocal laments. There’s a bit of an issue with the mix in the drums, however: due to the sheer level of bass present in the kick-drum sound, when double-bass kicks in there’s a strange oscillating effect. Asides from sounding weird on its own, it cuts through the rest of the mix warping guitars and vocals alike. A small issue to be sure, but the kind of pedantic nit-picking that those familiar with my writing will know me for by now!

“No Place For Happiness” is a comparatively brief track – not exactly short and sweet but you get my meaning! A slow-paced piece of introspection in places, there are almost Doom-laden influences here that really add to the mood. “Humanity” reverts to a more recognisably Black Metal sound, weaving between beats that drives along an unrelenting dirge for the first few minutes. A mid-section comprises of a slower-paced cry of despair from instruments and vocals, with the closing movement introducing sad synths that introduce a vague glimmer of hope in its chords, fading out over three or four minutes and continuing into the next track.

“Skuggvarelsen” bears a definite sense of closure about it, almost acceptance. Grotesk’s pained howling towards the end of the track should be all too familiar to anyone who has lost someone close to them. In many ways this music is too real, but that is, I believe, its greatest strength. It does not shy away from confronting tragedy and hopelessness. “Annullamento” is a haunting deep-dive into the depressed mind, preceded by a three-minute narration of the reasoning of one deep in hopelessness. In many ways this mirrors the internal monologue in the first track. This is followed by sad, doomy melodies that are dripping with despair and positively revel in it.

This is, without a doubt, one of the most heartfelt and emotionally powerful studies of depression out there. There has been something of a renaissance in the exploration of depression through various artistic mediums, and this is a very strong and convincing take on the phenomena. I have mentioned the mixing/recording issues, issues that are, unfortunately, very audible. Despite these, however, the album overall is very polished. The song writing is intelligently done, and the standard of playing across the board is excellent. As regular readers will know by now, I have a thing for DSBM – neither can I justify or explain it, nor do I need to! Something in the reptilian brain responds to it in a way I cannot rationalise. But for those who, like me, get a kick out of this kind of thing, you will definitely want to include this in your collection and follow the band closely.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Självhat
2. Allt Och Inget
3. No Place For Happiness
4. Humanity
5. Skuggvarelsen
6. Annullamento
Grotesk – Vocals
Adimere – All instruments
Record Label: Talheim Records Germany


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