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Nubivagant - Roaring Eye Award winner

Nubivagant
Roaring Eye
by Chris Hawkins at 23 September 2020, 5:52 PM

I wrote the following paragraphs before knowing anything about this band.  It was one of those strange occurrences where I played an album from a band I knew nothing about and was so swept away by it that I just cathartically wrote out my impressions, pouring them upon the page.  Now, though, having completed the body and conclusion, I looked up some information on the band which illuminates their extremely unique creation.  NUBIVAGANT (which means moving through clouds/air) is the solo project of Omega, drummer of BLUT AUS NORD, CHAOS INVOCATION, and DARVAZA.  Seeing that connection to BLUT AUS NORD, one of the most spirited, exciting, and innovative bands out there accounts for the ethereal air surrounding the music.  What is perhaps most shocking, though, is that Omega is quite the singer.  The end result is a highly passionate, atmospheric, introspective journey through the peaks and valleys of music created from the emptying of one man’s soul.

The first track is titled “Wonders of the Invisible World,” and there is a palpable immediacy pumping through the veins of the stunning chords calling this anthem to order.  It is a highly affecting vortex of pulsing, constant blasting with its own cosmic color of tone.  Before the vocals arrive, it is already clear this is of a different ilk than the run of the mill Black Metal out there.  My jaw hit the floor, though, upon hearing the plaintive timbre of the clean vocals.  It works incredibly well against the buoyant nature of the instrumental section.  Essentially, the instruments are grouped into an effective phalanx over which the spears of the vocals are loosed hurtling through the air in direct assault.

This is something special.  Before moving on to describing the tracks, production, etc., I want to alert the reader to this.  The ebb and flow of the music industry spanning the now over two decades that I’ve dedicated my life to following it is one that is easy to become adapted to.  After a while, one becomes jaded.  After all, will anyone ever top “Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk” or “La Masquerade Infernale”?  There is a magic on this record that simply entrances the listener yet another sign of the exceptional nature of this album.  Ultimately, I always intend my critiques of albums to be honest and devoid of industry catch phrases and empty hype.   Therefore, when I throw the flag to call attention to something special, these words are not hollow.

The Furnace of Apollyon” is the second track and has a similar approach to the first in that the riffs have a plodding effect which is almost like a natural bobbing up and down as if riding on waves or even horseback.  Thus far, there have only been clean vocals though this song does reveal a latent PRIMORDIAL influence.  Like those Irish lifers, NUBIVAGANT is more concerned with the intoxicating effect of the atmosphere they create than in playing to any Black Metal pretensions.

The third track, “Once Upon the Grave,” is a true highlight of the album.  With this track, there is a decidedly more profound sense of melancholy aided by its slower, dirge-like feel.  While there seems to be a sense of loss running throughout, it is most pronounced on this track.  The vocals truly soar on this son and it is the least Black Metal of the bunch here.

NUBIVAGANT transcends mere Black Metal.  True, there is a foundation laid of almost-constant tremolo picking and blasting, but the larger melodic statement is of a stately, resolute, and yet mystical nature.  There is a uniformity within the instrumental section that allows the larger overarching ideas to be conveyed with a sweeping euphoric air.  The longing, search for truth, and discovery as told by the magical vocals convey such feelings looming large over the music.  The guitars have a warm sound which breaks up nicely but also holds together well when things are hectic rhythmically.  The production is seamless in that there is a uniformity to the sound.  It is one of those albums that after hearing it just once, will be forever etched into the brain and recognizable.

This is one of those reviews that despite running out of room on the page (I hand write everything I do first), I question whether adequately described the music herein.  Let’s put it like this:  have you ever awakened at 4 AM, turned on the radio, and have the sense that the song playing was meant for you?  This is quite like the feeling I get from the album – like an eerie, oddly familiar sensation.  True, there are myriad influences at work here within this concoction yet, despite the aforementioned PRIMORDIAL, they are not readily apparent except as generalities – atmospheric, melodic, cathartic, etc.  Simply put, this is an album that almost exists out of time.  It could have been released in 1995, 2015, or just pick a random year.  NUBIVAGANT has managed to tap into a timeless, sweeping epic style, one that has shockingly impressed me.  I cannot recommend this enough!

Songwriting:  9
Originality:  9
Memorability:  10
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Wonders of the Invisible World
2. The Furnace of Apollyon
3. One Eye Upon the Grave
4. Crawling Earth
5. Solemn Pearls
6. The Plague of Flesh
7. Stormveiled
8. Dying Star Remembrance
9. To Embrace the Void
10. …And Woods Forlorn
Lineup:
Omega:  Everything
Record Label: Amor Fati Productions
     


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