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Numenor - Colossal Darkness (Reissue)

Numenor
Colossal Darkness
by Matt Bozenda at 17 September 2021, 5:23 PM

In the lore of Middle Earth, Numenor was a gift given to a tribe of humans who had assisted in defeating Melkor, the first Dark Lord. Raised in the middle of the ocean, it was soon to be the seat of power of a great empire of men, but the Ban Of The Valar prevented them from going west, planting a jealous seed, germinating for generations before none other than Sauron brought the fruit to harvest. The last Numenorean king took an army to the Undying Lands, and the god Eru was so pissed off about it, He literally sank the island.

There’s a lot more to it than that, obviously, just as there’s a lot more to NUMENOR, the Belgrade-based Symphonic Black and Power Metal namesake band with an affinity for fantasy literature centered lyrics, which are delivered both cleanly and growly in tandem. 2021 has seen the band sign with a new label and release their new album, “Draconian Age”, but Elevate Records also found time to reissue their very first album, 2013’s “Colossal Darkness”, this time including a bonus pair of covers.

The first track, “Opus Draconis”, is an instrumental intro which sounds a lot like the menu screen of an old horror CD-ROM. But then, just as it ends and segues into “The Eternal Champion”, the listener is left with little doubt about this band’s intentions, firmly planting the flags of their genres and exerting a bit of Epic Metal influence as well.

This particular formula is a tough act to pull off, but the band proves up to the task, continuing to do what works for “Hour Of The Dragon”, and by the time you’ve finished “The Alchemist”, you’ll probably have gotten a feel for this outfit’s average. That’s when “Chronomancer” launches under auspiciously spooky circumstances, the fastest paced but longest song thus far.

Things move in an ambitious way on “Servants Of Sorcery”, taking twists and turns not yet previously explored. That’s even more true on “While The Gods Laugh”, whose outro particularly goes in a strange and even sobering direction. The height of experimentation is reached on the album’s original ender, “The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate”, which bucks convention to deliver a mostly Symphonic elegy.

But what’s a reprint without adding some bonus material, eh? The first extra is a competent but decidedly non-Symphonic cover of IRON MAIDEN’s “Flash Of The Blade”. After that comes a slightly truncated version of the RAINBOW classic “Stargazer”, which while just as good as the prior cover, also fails to really include the Symphonic element, and here it would most certainly have worked.

So, they’re heavy in the Tolkien and Moorcock ideologies, and does this critic detect a Lovecraftian darkness within? Musically speaking there’s some tastes of BLIND GUARDIAN, some COVENANT, some ARCTURUS, a little bit of early DIMMU BORGIR perhaps, but NUMENOR really does stand on their own feet.

The genres they’ve chosen have a funny way of meshing (funny meaning clownish), and it can be difficult to make them complement each other instead of fighting it out for ear space. Somehow or other, call it talent, luck, or caprice, NUMENOR started cooking up just right eight years ago, and the “Colossal Darkness” reissue will have the Metal community coming back for thirds.

Here’s hoping the band doesn’t suffer the same hubris as Ar-Pharazon.

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Opus Draconis
2. The Eternal Champion
3. Hour Of The Dragon
4. The Alchemist
5. Chronomancer
6. Servants Of Sorcery
7. While The Gods Laugh
8. The Sailor On The Seas Of Fate
9. Flash Of The Blade
10. Stargazer
Lineup:
Despot Marko Miranović – Vocals, Narration
Srđan "Sirius" Branković – Guitars, Bass, Drums, Vocals
Vladimir Đedović - Keyboards
Record Label: Elevate Records
     


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