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Noekk – Waltzing in Obscurity

Waltzing in Obscurity
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 25 September 2019, 7:20 AM

Noekk (Nøkk) is supposed to be a water creature that was able to transform into a beautiful white horse. When the proud stallion eventually got a human to mount it, it dashed into the dark waters and drowned the victim. The band formed in Germany in 2005, out of the ashes of EMPYREAM. “Waltzing in Obscurity” is the band’s latest release, and contains nine new tracks.

“Waltzing in Obscurity” leads off the album, with some dark tones of keyboards/programming. The main riff drops and the meter shifts from there. The mood is somber and the bass can be heard taking the lead at points. It’s an odd and melancholic song. “Perseus” features a little more guitar presence and a bit more of a straightforward riff and song structure. The vocals take a bit of getting used to. It takes a positive turn around the half way mark, but remains dreamy and sort of murky. “The Mirror” opens with somber tones and a slow cadence. Sorrowful in expression, the vocals really reflect that feeling here. This is some obscure music for sure.

“The Giant” opens with piano notes and a bit more energy. Those dreamy tones come back with the acoustical guitar parts. It changes direction a bit towards the end, ending with just minimal instrumentation. “On Summits” features a sharper riff and some timing changes. The vocals echo the guitar in a dark embrace. Harmonized vocals come into play here, giving the song a fuller and richer sound. Still, that dissonant riff is fairly dominating. “Mortlach” is a shorter instrumental song with that dreamy quality I was talking about earlier. It really is a theme for the entire album.

“The Windwalker” features a more traditional pattern and linear structure but still with some odd time signatures. The darkness mostly comes from the vocals. It straddles the line between light and dark, despondence and hope. “The Secret Beaker” is a slower song with doleful melodies that keep the greyness of your existence alive. It remains sad and depressing throughout. “The Lily of Reverence” closes the album opening with a little more fervor and some chunky riffs. Some spacey keyboard parts combine with dreadful vocals, painting a picture of depression.

Overall, this was a wildly unique and deeply personal listening experience, but I think it is a niche record at best. I struggle to find their audience…who in the Rock/Metal community would look for something like this. I suppose it could be any fan of music that is outside the box, but its depressive tones drag it down. Depressive music can be very enjoyable, however, but this was a bit of a struggle for me.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Waltzing in Obscurity
2. Perseus
3. The Mirror
4. The Giant
5. On Summits
6. Mortlach
7. The Windwalker
8. The Secret Beaker
9. The Lily of Reverence
Funghus Baldachin
F.F. Yugoth
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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