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Nostoc - AEvum Award winner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 August 2017, 8:53 AM

Costa Rican quartet NOSTOC formed in 2010, as a Progressive/Extreme/Groove Metal band, and they present their debut album here “AEvum,” which contains seven new tracks, with varying lengths between six and eleven minutes. The nine minute “A Path to Ascend” leads off the album. It starts off fairly innocuous considering the genre of the band. It has a jovial, groovy, almost jazz like introduction. But it starts to gather steam pretty quickly thereafter. By the two minute mark, the brutal vocals enter, and the sound changes to a heavy groove, with some technical and progressive elements as well. “Saturnian Mindscope Introspection” is shorter in length, and grabs you by the balls right out of the gate. A darker affair, the vocals at times are deep as the ocean goes. Calderon keeps a varied meter with the drums, and establishes many time changes that keep the listener on his/her toes. Stylistically this is difficult to compare to other bands that you may be familiar with, so I say just enjoy it for what it is.

“The Artisan” is an interesting track…a jazzy groove at times and a brutal slab of Death Metal at others. The combination and timing is fascinating. It’s a bit hard to digest on the first listen, so I recommend you give it a few spins to work with the way the passages connect. It’s akin to dealing with a mad scientist. At times his is docile as he works through theories and numbers, while other times he is vivid and alive, animated and impassioned. “Imbued in AEther” starts with dual shouted vocals that are incensed and bark at you like a rabid dog cornered in an alley. There isn’t much manipulation of the sound here, it is mostly a straightforward bruiser aimed at destruction. "Transmute” is another that starts hard and heavy, with Doomy notes. At times the vocals venture deeper into the DeathCore range, though that is not particularly the genre of the music presented here. The echoing chants give it a suspenseful quality, while the instruments lock together in tight passages of sundry technicality that would impress any musician.

“The Anamesic Voyage” opens with a sterility that reminds me of a band like GOJIRA, who too often get lumped into the “Progressive” genre when they have an equal amount of that cold, systematic “Industrial” sound as well. While the bass and drums thud away, the guitars provide the first true melodious passage that shows a sense of complexity and creativity amidst the mechanical chaos. “Delirium” is the eleven-minute closer. Weighted and aggressive from the start, it settles into a mid-tempo groove for a while before darting and dashing around some unusual time meters. Another jazzy passage occupies some of the middle section of the sound, and it is here where the bass guitar shines brightest. From there the song showcases some of the strong progressive and technical elements we heard in earlier tracks.

The musicianship on display here is excellent. As a genre enthusiast, I would say it straddles the line between Progressive and Technical Death metal, but it’s the way that they two are married that makes the album as good as it is. That, and they interludes of melody and almost improvisational promenades that cut some of the turmoil of the Death Metal. They show compositional skill and sophistication, and even a sense of fun in seven very brutal Death Metal tracks. “Thinking man’s Death Metal” is about as concise as I can get here. Purchase this album.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorabilty: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. A Path to Ascend
2. Saturnian Mindscope Introspection
3. The Artisan
4. Imbued in AEther
5. Transmute
6. The Anamnesic Voyage
7. Delirium
Freddy Lopez - Guitar and Vocals
David Miranda - Guitar
Jorge Camacho - Bass
Emmanuel Calderón – Drums
Record Label: Independent


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