Captive In The Breath Of Life
Review by Felix on January 18, 2024.
2,175 kilometers – this is the distance between my home town and Vantaa in the South of Suomi. Nocturnal Sorcery will celebrate the release of their second album Captive In The Breath Of Life in this town near Helsinki. I admit, I am too lazy to join the party; the way is much too long. So here comes my “Plan B”: I am doing the release party on my own, even earlier then the guys themselves. Welcome Felix, your exclusive release session starts right now.
The visual design of the artwork is pure cult. It is generic, reduced to the essentials and it looks like the colorless edition of Helstar’s “Nosferatu”. Anyway, I like it very much, even though one could call it infantile as well. But let’s not dwell on trivialities. Nocturnal Sorcery play, naturally, proggy free jazz with cleverly embedded dissonant gospel choirs… ehm, no. Of course, another black metal breeze cools down the temperature of my living room. Honestly spoken, the music is no less generic than the cover. At this point, good old Bon Scott, God rest his soul, comes to mind. To freely quote the legend from Fremantle: “it’s a long way to the top if you wanna black metal”. And it does not make things easier if you decide to kill the flow of your album with non-musical intermezzos like 'Spectral Force'. It adds nothing to the output but rubbish. Guess they wanted to call it “Spectral Farce”, but I still do not know why they gave it a place in the song list. Okay, I am willing to forget this useless track. I prefer to focus on a real killer like 'Beyond Salvation'. It leaves a very good aroma in view of its harshness, its flow and some trace elements of catchiness. Right from the get-go, the song demonstrates its strength due to the high velocity and the typical, more or less bone-breaking melodies that have given black metal its extra fine spicy taste. In addition, the dogged nagging of the lead vocalist battles with the instruments. Just great. But why, I repeat accusingly: why is the song sandwiched by 'Spectral Force' and 'Joyless Dance In The Shadow', another experiment that devalues every black metal disc to a certain extent? Is it gloomy? No. Is it terrifying? No. Is it simply stupid? Yes.
As a result, the band cuts into its own flesh twice. Maybe this is a new type of suicidal black metal? Not really. Thanks to the black Finnish mentality, Nocturnal Sorcery live out their anger, their hatred and their contempt for the norm. The constantly hammering drummer demonstrates his stamina, the guitarists produce tones that commute between relentless aggression and a low degree of harmonies, the bass guitar player was surely in the studio, but bad luck, nobody can hear him. It doesn’t matter, the production conveys an appropriate underground feel to it and I am happy that the snare does not get lost in the rapid sections (and there are many of them). Ultimately, vocals and instruments are in a good balance and so there is nothing to grumble in this context.
Is anyone still looking for arguments to buy the album? Well, listen to perfidious attacks like 'Oath At Mt. Hermon', 'Redemption At Daybreak' (fantastic break after one minute!) or 'Damned By The Law Of The Stars'. This kind of song is taught at the elitist Behexen school. Without any doubt, there is a big potential and Nocturnal Sorcery should be aware of this fact. There is no need to fill the next album with nonsensical collages again. Anyway, the band is on a good way, even their overlong songs are pretty good and never boring. So I can recommend this album. Despite its small flaws, it attracts a lot of charm. Yes, it is still a long way for the band to reach the top, but in all probability it is at least less than 2,175 kilometers.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10526