Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Album Release: 26 August 2016
Review by Flame-mantous
The Noctambulant is certainly a band that likes peering around the darker side of metal. The band started back in 2012 with Guitarist/Vocalist E. Helvete, Guitarist B.C, Bassist Lars G and Drummer D. Franseth in Jacksonville, Florida. The band deems themselves “American Melodic Black Metal” which by the telling of their latest release, Advocatus Diaboli, is definitely the case.
What is very apparent from the opening song on this album, is that the album has a dark edge but isn’t fully a black metal sound. The melodic edges on the music remind me of Soilwork or Even Demon Hunter but at the same time it reminds me of Satyricon or even Venom, it’s a weird mix of music, but it really does seem like a style the band can carry on and develop. Surely the album was an opportunity to engage this style and build on it. So did it? Yes and no.
The band have a great sense of melody, hence the style they deem themselves to be, and a lot of the riffs used by the band have a lot of obscure sounding melodies, even within chords. The dual melodies on the album are something that is done really well, I ended up getting really drawn into that, because when those dual melodies hit, it truly feels deep, like they’re speaking through the instrument. The song structure of each song is nicely varied, with enough flow and smoothness to maintain the aggression, though some songs feel like their structure is just far too simple and lets the music down in a big way. Although the style is a very promising and unique direction, there are a few concerns with it.
This style is pretty great, but about halfway through the album, you almost feel like the music is not developing and feels like its staying stagnant and safe, resulting in the album feeling a little repetitive at times. The track “Evil Calling” was a song I got seriously excited about. It’s the longest track on the album and is full of catchy vocal lines, amazing melodies and an intense pace, building on the style of previous songs in a big way.
The drums add a nice amount of punch and come out with some killer grooves. Unfortunately the drums do not always hold the intensity that the music feels it needs from the drums. I’m by no means saying the drums are bad, there are some amazingly powerful drum pieces on the album, but sometimes feel like it could be more intense, to match the music.
The vocals are pretty great on the album, not a lot of complaints here. It sounds like a traditional black metal rasp, just with some nice mids and scathing-sounding highs added into the mix. The vocals really do blend well with the approach the music is taking, mixing some black metal and squeezing in some melodeath style vocals as well. Saying this, the variation in the vocals could be expressed a little more.
The production on the album is definitely great, but could be a little better. The guitars, including high leads, feel very muddy and bland, and could do with some sharper mixing. The drums cymbals, especially ride sounds, could’ve been brought up a bit. This sometimes causes power drops, which isn’t a result of the band themselves dropping in power. The bass and vocals sound really good, and everything (except the cymbals) are all perfectly balanced with one another.
The Noctambulant is a band that spawns a very unique style, one that works together so well, but unfortunately haven’t been able to build up on it and put it through its paces, resulting in the album sounding a little samey. Though the second half of the album seems to promise that the band will take this sound, and make it huge. This band definitely has the potential to become its own beast, it already is, but you know what I mean.
If you like black metal or just a lot of melody in your metal, take a look at these guys.