To The Gates Of Blasphemous Fire (The End Records)
By: Jeb Branin
This is definitely not what I was expecting from this band! On their previous platter "Goat Horns" NOKTURNAL MORTEM proved to be a solid symphonic (almost ambient) black metal act. Usually bands in that vein tend to get more and more "ethereal" with each release, straying further and further from the metal sound that spawned them. But on "To The Gates Of Blasphemous Fire" N.M go in the exact opposite direction. They have opted for a faster, heavier, rawer, more metallic sound. They still have swirling, haunting keys and a grandiose delivery but everything is stripped down and more intense than on their previous album. They sound more dense and more powerful than ever. I think this was a brilliant move by the band and should catapult them to the skullthrone of black metal supremacy where they will sit on the right hand of Hades. Listening to NOKTURNAL MORTEM has gone from an aural experience to a visceral one. Without a doubt the most complete and devastating black metal album of this (admittedly young) year.
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