Written by: PP on 05/07/2011 17:50:13

Spanish death metal outfit Noctem have been called many things after the release of their debut album "Divinity" two years ago, but the primary description us critics tend to use is to call them Spain's answer for death metal giants Behemoth. It is clear that the Poles have been a great influence to Noctem's songwriting, although the Spaniards do take it a step further and throw in a pinch of melodeath and blackened death influence as well for good measure.

"Oblivion" is their second album, and it continues largely where "Divinity" left off. Ripping lead guitar melodies are executed fiercely and according to the convention in death metal, spreading across a range of serpentine-driven riffs, tremolo-driven black metal shredding, and high-speed pummeling where necessary. You can argue that the band has taken the sound into a more brutal and conventionally death metal direction as opposed to the lingering melodies of their debut, a development which also exists in the vocal department. They have been toned down from the soft screaming style towards a more brutal shriek/growl style (think The Black Dahlia Murder here), and I'm not sure it's for the better. Previously it allowed a nice contrast between the brutal and the melodic, whereas the whole mix on "Oblivion" now Behemoth. Except a slightly inferior version, of course.

That being said, it would be stupid to write off "Oblivion" for such petty reasons. The craftsmanship in the guitars is impressive, just take a brief listen to "Unredemption", for instance, where the band seamlessly shifts from tremolo riffs and serpentine black metal to much more melodic passages at ease. If you can't wait for the next Behemoth album, and like your death metal with a little bit of melody like The Black Dahlia Murder, then Noctem might be a noteworthy band to check out.


Download: Universal Disorder, Invictus, Unredemption
For the fans of: Behemoth, Nile, The Black Dahlia Murder
Listen: Myspace

Release date 10.06.2011
Rising / Cargo Records

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