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Nocturnal Wanderer – Gift Of The Night

Nocturnal Wanderer
Gift Of The Night
by Oli Gonzalez at 21 February 2022, 6:40 AM

Most album reviews start with a short introduction for the band. However, there are very rare occasions were some bands simply wish to remove themselves from the spotlight altogether. This could be for personal or ethical reasons. Or to simply force the listeners to focus on the musical experience itself rather than creating judgements based on reputation of the band its members. Therefore, I present to you today “Gift Of The Night”, the debut album for a one person solo black metal project NIGHT WANDERER.

“Twilight Befell” kicks off the album. I’m particularly enjoying the melodic blackened atmospheric metal feel. The distorted rhythm guitar, bass and drums locking in to create an enticing, hypnotic groove. The lead guitar seems to have a mind of its own and soars majestically over the rest of the instruments. This creates a strangely calming and relaxing feel to the album thus far. A lot of what can be said for the first song can also be said for  “Darkness In Rapture”, which has a similar atmospheric texture. However, I do note how the bass player seemingly takes on the role of lead instrument on occasion in this song, a pleasant surprise and somewhat unexpected in this genre.

I found “Sentient Shadows” very enjoyable, largely due to the selection of notes and scales. It’s almost as if there is a more positive and uploading feel to the melody built on a renaissance-style scale. I find this is very similar to how power metal bands such as BLIND GUARDIAN operate and makes for interesting comparison. The slower passage in the middle of the song is a fantastic contrast from the comparative speed from the preceding segments of the album so far. I also hear the subtle usage of synths and clean vocals in this segment adding to this illusion of calm. The album progresses with “By Moonlight”, and features many of these instrumental patterns and textures. However, I find the guitars and bass laying down a much faster, choppier and thrash-laden groove, one which I find myself bopping my head along to. There’s so many things to enjoy so far in this album! “Distant Stars In Distant Skies” brings a more avant-garde and progressive element to the album, especially with the use of acoustic string instruments in the latter stages of the song, with a vibe similar to OPETH in their later years.

“The Amberdawn” closes the album. The opening slower cleaner arpeggio gives a more unsettling and chilling vibe to the song so far. I particularly enjoyed it when this arpeggio is joined by another guitar passage, harmonizing beautifully over the top. This dual guitar attack is the mainstay for this song and to me creates an illusion of mourning, sorrow and despair. I personally think it’s genius! It’s almost a requiem, mourning for the inevitable end for this album. Honestly, this album has hit the spot for me. There’s so much potential. I say potential because sadly, I think there’s some fundamental issues with the album. Production wise, it honestly sounds amateur with instruments sounding fuzzy and lacking the crisp and sharpness of other higher end albums. However, I understand that budget and access to equipment may be a limiting factor here. I haven’t mentioned vocals here, because sadly, they just do not work for me! Whether it’s the lack of clarity, the vocals sitting at the wrong place in the mix, or both, I truly do wonder if the next album should be an instrumental.

Overall, I do think with more attention to production and vocals, the next album could be much better, and would resonate well with black metal aficionados and casual observers alike. There is a clear understanding and depth of knowledge of the genre on display here and much to appreciate.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 3

3 Star Rating

1. Twilight Befell
2. Darkness In Rapture
3. Sentient Shadows
4. By Moonlight
5. Distant Stars In Distant Skies
6. The Amberdawn
Record Label: Nameless Grave Records


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