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Nupraptor – The Heresiarch

Nupraptor
The Heresiarch
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 05 March 2018, 7:48 AM

NUPRAPTOR is a one man band project featuring Matt St. Ours (from thrash band WHITE HORNET) doing everything by himself in this seven track Doom Metal album.  Can one man reach into the depths of his soul, pull out darkness, sorrow, and melancholy and translate that to full meaningful journey? For the most part, yes.  There are a few problems here and I want to go ahead and get those out of the way because this album is pretty good.  As mentioned, it’s a one man band…and it sounds like it, production wise.  The sound is clear enough but there is just something off about it; it sounds a bit watered down and the vocals are a bit too loud for my tastes.  Speaking of vocals, when St. Ours sings in a low or mid-range register, he sounds really great and reminds me of early ST. VITUS.   However, when he tries to extend his range or go for something different with his voice (such as the goofy filtered vocals on the otherwise awesome “Burning The Believers”), he sounds like, well, early ST. VITUS; he just comes off as corny and it detracts from the excellent songwriting somewhat.

These quibbles aside, there is a lot of love in these seven tracks of honest to god Doom.  Their overall sound is very interesting: they have the dread and gothic appeal of bands like KATATONIA, MY DYING BRIDE, and PARADISE LOST but its wrapped up in a more old school Stoner/Doom sound like the already mentioned ST. VITUS, CATHEDRAL, or TROUBLE.  I hear some SOLITUDE AETURNUS as well in the guitar solos, which are pretty sick and very well played. The album opens with the instrumental “Black Mass,” and it sets the tone for the album pretty well.  Doom Metal is one of the few genres that gets a pass from me for using intros and I’m glad to see this album uses one very well.

The first proper track, “Through the Smoke,” gives a deeper understanding of what Ours’s goals are.  The drumming on this track is, much like on the rest of the album, simple but very direct.  He hits the kit pretty hard, his bass kick worked really well with my headphones.  At 3:04, the song suddenly changes on a dime, the riffs kicked up a notch or five and accompanied by a blazing guitar solo. The title track, “The Heresiarch” begins with an amazing dual guitar melody before slowing down to a crushing riff, accented by well-placed cymbal usage.  About half way through, we are treated with another 360 degree tempo change.  I like how the double bass in the drums really keeps the Doom flowing, laying down a heavy sound for the clean vocals and melodic guitar leads to shine but still keep things dark and doomy.

The last track, “The Fall of Christ,” is a doozy of a track, clocking in at over eleven minutes.  Clean guitar and a spoken word passage open the song and lead into a very emotional and soul filled guitar solo, the likes of which we don’t always hear in Doom.  The vocals and riffs compliment each other very well through the bulk of the songs first few minutes.  A nice rhythm builds up and you soon forget the song is eleven minutes long because it’s so well paced.  After some more riffs and a couple badass solos, the song speeds up and we get even better riffs and even more badass solos.  Honestly, this song is so well done and one of the best doom songs I’ve heard this year.

With NUPRAPTOR, Ours has crafted an above average Doom Metal album that wears its many influences on its sleeve while having a sound all its own.  If you like lead guitar work or sweet, sweet riffs, this album should be on your “to listen” list.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Black Mass
2. Through The Smoke
3. Burning The Believers
4. The Heresiarch
5. Before the Eyes of God
6. Wasting Away
7. The Fall of Christ
Lineup:
Matt St. Ours – All Instruments and Vocals
Record Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
     


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