MORTUM - Reviews
Featured in: TERRORIZERSuite
Z411, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, London E1 6QN UK
If any city deserves nil spawn a Black Metal band. it
is surely Kharkov. Fought over and destroyed no less than four times during
the Second World War most spectacularly and bloodily by the SS, it was
and probably still is, a centre for one of the world's largest tank factories.
Legion of Marduk, eat your heart out. Nokturnal Mortum, however, have elected
to ignore their parent city's most recent heritage in favour of more ancient
evils. Though the stage-monickers may sound 'western', being such suitably
demonic labels as Munruthel, Sataroth and Xaarquath, one shouldn't forget
the potency of the Orthodox Church through the ages, let alone today during
a religious revival.
Suitably motivated and inspired, this Ukrainian six-piece
have made enough of a splash to attract the attention of Nuclear BIast,
who have licensed [for Europe] 'Goat Horns’ from California’s The End Records,
and fine can see why. The opening 'Black Moon Overture' utilizes the band's
two keyboardists to the max. coming over more akin to a Pagan Ambient act
such as Endura than to the damp squids which normally inaugurate BM releases.
The title-track, too, is brilliantly orchestrated, building to a crescendo
somewhere between Ancient Rites and Dimmu Borgir in impact, counterpoint
melodies adding a richness which belies the relative inexperience of the
group. 'Unholy Orathania', too, unveils itself with a harpischord-style
flourish that wouldn't be out of place on a Dead Can Dance album.
To be sure, there are weaknesses: the guitar sound is
(perhaps inevitably) a bit thin, but the overall mood is a feeling of unrealized
potential, not of amateurishness. Given a stint in, say, Woodhouse or the
Academy next time round, Nokturnal Mortum might have a glittering career
ahead of them. Recommended. Nick Terry
Featured in: SATAN
STOLE MY TETTYBEAR c/o John Chedsey
So have you ever sat under a darkened
sky in the middle of a frozen wasteland and thought to yourself,
"I wonder what Emperor would sound like had Mortiis stayed in the
band and allowed that influence to affect the music"? Well, rather
than allow you sit and freeze your black metal tushy off, Nocturnal
Mortum (who hail from the Ukraine) has given the answer! And the
answer is good ...This lush masterpiece of black metal, classical, folk,
and dungeon music is one of the most exciting releases I've heard in quite
some time. "Black Moon Overture" is a very classically influenced keyboard/synthetic
instrumental piece that anchors you in for the explosion of madness that
lies ahead. Singer/guitar Varggoth's rasp (not really a scream, but not
really a death sound either), along with that heavily distorted "roaring"
bass and haunting keyboards, brings you through a whole new dimension
of aural destruction. Each song is cleverly constucted and makes great
use of throwing in the odd instrumentation and effect. In fact, I can't
say enough good things about this record. This is one of those rare albums
I want to listen to over and over again.
Featured in: STORMBRINGER,
Derek Daniel, 13F Montgomery Avenue, Bournemouth, BH11 8BLEngland
I could have watched MTV's Superock, (but what the point
as most of the videos they show are a few years old, and some of them are
SHIT!! and I can't stand Miss Valet's dribble in between each video),
or I could have gone to bed, but instead I decided to
listen to Goat Horns for the third time today.
WHY, because, I just can't believe what I've heard and
simply must listen to it again, just incase I missed something the last
time round. You see, Goat Horns is a black metal album, and a very good
one indeed. So good infact that it puts bands like Cradle Of Filth and
Old Man's Child in the shade.
HOW, well read on and I will reveal all. If you judged
every book by it's cover, you would think oh, no not another death metal
band, the cover, the title, even the band photo, do nothing to deter from
that 'B' movie feel, but put the CD in and press play and what you have
is an album that pushes the boundaries
of black metal and hopefully makes it more accessible
The opening track 'Black Man Overture' is a fine example
of what I am talking about, basically it's classical music. That's right,
something even the London Symphony Orchestra would be proud off, it's mean,
moody and because it's mainly classical, it makes you sit up in anticipation
of what lies ahead.
Nokturnal Mortum hail fro the Ukraine and even manage
to combine traditional Ukraine music in with their black metal, but it's
not just this, that puts them head and shoulders above the rest. Even the
vocalist, which in terms of black metal is usually no more than grunts
and groans, are much more controlled and distinguishable and never at any
time overshadow the music.
The best example of this is the title track 'Goat Horns',
the whole thing stands out with some excellent sound effects, church bells,
howling wind, then an acoustic guitar cuts in above the keyboards and then
the metal hits you full in, full power, but wait, just when you were getting
nice and relaxed, used to the style, they throw in traditional Ukraine
folk music as well. Amazing, this can be heard again on the excellent 'Kolyada'
Now one thing, I must point out, although I've been going
on about how wonderfully different this album is, with all the different
effects,etc. One thing for sure, when it comes down to it, Nokturnal Mortum
can play metal like a bastard and this is a very heavy album. This is without
doubt Black Metals finest hour (well 51:43 minutes). Go and add this to
your collection NOW!!
Personally I can't wait for the follow up.
Featured in: THE
CRASS MENAGERIE #62, Route Box 23-3, Ephraim, UT 84627 USA
& also IN MUSIC
The first thing that strikes me
about this band is their mastery of emotion. There are a couple of
instrumental moments on here that are some of the most beautiful
moments I have ever heard on a black metal album. The finest being the
opening track "Black Moon Overture" which is worth the price of the disc
alone. When the band get down to more standard bursts of rapid fire
black metal in subsequent tracks they are less distinctive, sticking to
well worn paths trod by the masters of northern darkness.... that is until
track five. That track titled "Veles' Scrolls" is a breathetaking,
eleven minute epic of voluptuous splendor.... one might even say epicurean.
From that track on the album takes on a new life. More complexity
is heard and a stunnigly sensitive balance is struck between orchestral
magnificence, obscure ethnic sounds, and sulphur belchingblackness.
The first tune and the second half of the disc are so good they qualify
this as best black metal album this issue, and there are more quality black
releases reviewed in this issue than I've ever done before.
Featured in: STORMWATCH
#2, 69 Clayton Ave., Methuen, MA 01844 USA
Once again, The End has dug up a great band (this time
from the Ukraine). Nokturnal Mortum is a band that can utilize
both the extreme side of metal (the sprawling, twisted chaos of their raw
blackish style), and the more melodic aspects (as we hear in the phenomenal
intro of "Unholy Orathania"). They've put together something solid and
real here, and possess the ability to drag the listener off into their
midnight world of enchanting melody and sheer brutality. Fave tracks: "Vele's
Scrolls" and "Eternal Circle". Along with Mental Home, Sunchariot, and
a host of others, Nokturnal Mortum is converting that former Soviet region
into a hotbed of great metal. And we are getting another album by them
in July! Amazing. – Azzie
Featured in: ULTIMA
COMPARATIO, 1576 North Street Suffield, CT 06078 USA
Here is another release from The End Records, and once
again they have a solid release. Upon first listen, you notice the great
production, good songwriting and great overall performance. For the better
part of the CD it stays within the atmospheric realm of Black Metal with
occasional folk influences. The vocals are harsh at all times and are definitely
the CD's strongest asset... This is a very good release from a label that
seems destined for great things.
Featured in: ETERNAL
FROST WEBZINE, PO Box 584, Conyers GA, 30012-0584 USA
More stuff from The End Records. Do I like it? Of course!...
Well, I first heard this band on the . . . Until the End of Time compilation,
which was reviewed in the last issue of EFW. "Unholy Orathania", the track
that appeared on said compilation, was only a hint of what this band is
like, so, naturally, I was eagerly awaiting this album. NOKTURNAL MORTUM
is from the same country as CASTRUM, but play a totally different style
of music. Nokturnal Mortum bring to us seven unholy hymns, two of which,
the first and last, are instrumental keyboard compositions, and well done
at that. "Black Moon Overture" starts things off with its aptly-titled
self, treating the listener to a pleasant yet forboding atmosphere, ending
with a majestic sound that leads right into the second track, "Kuyaviya".
The music is heavily-laden with keyboards, so as to slightly drown out
the guitars at some points. But I like the keyboards on this album because
they have this Celtic sound that seems to fit the music to good effect.
This is especially noted in the songs "Unholy Orathania" and "Kolyada",
two of my favorites on this along with the first track. The majority of
the songs are past the seven-minute mark, "Veles' Scrolls" even being almost
twelve minutes long. Lyrics aren't included, but the cover art is unique.
It looks like it's water-color painted and depicts and robed, hooded person
holding a ramshead staff in one hand and beckoning with the other. For
some reason I like it a lot. Yes, another worthy recording from The End.
Featured in: METAL
NIGHTMARE, PO Box 420195, San Diego, CA 92142 USA
... "Black Moon Overture" starts things off with a dark,
gothic, medieval, vampiric (whatever you want to call it) synth intro,
which almost makes you surprised when the symphonic black metal music kicks
in on the second track....NOKTURNAL MORTUM does have a strength, and it
comes in the form of their orchestrations. There's a lot of different
experimentation going on, and perhaps some of it is inspired by folk songs
from their history...
Featured in: MUSIC
FAN?, 439 Valley Run Dr. Cherry Hill, NJ 08002 USA
The veil of black metal is long, draping itself into
the Ukraine, where this dual keyboard sextet wrapped their blasphemous
selves in it. While the elements are all familiar, it will take the
‘average’ black/death fan a while to get into these seven longwinded excursions,
as there’s significant amounts of classical instrumentation, courtesy of
the two synthesizers.
A completely symphonic instrumental begins the proceedings.
“Black Moon Overture” contains synthesized flute, orchestral strings and
oboe. “Kuyabiya” starts most conventionally, with the first two minutes
a catchy synth and drum rhythm. Activity picks up, but the keyboard
remains the central figure throughout the seven minute duration.
Billowing winds, tolling bell and military cadence drumming commence the
nine minute title track. The melody is based around ethnic folk music,
yet, in this context, sounds nothing like it.
An Arabian feel, augmented by tambourine and off kilter
keys, is presented by “Unholy Orathamia,” the track off the label’s compilation,
reviewed last month. A massive (11:30) “Veles’ Scrolls” uses pizzicato
strings, the ever present gremlin voice and synth. Like the others,
it’s extremely upbeat, plus a few touches of piano for good measure and
another bell, at its conclusion. “Kolyada” is more Middle Eastern
sounds, with chanting of their mother tongue intermixed with the sinister
black metal voice.
Featured in: UNDERGROUND
, BOCQUET Laurent - 9/22 Petite rue de l'alma - 59 800 Lille - FRANCE
With such a so good cover, it would have been a pity
if this album had been on the average of the main production. Fortunately,
this is not thte case & for its 3rd production, The End Records has
done again a very good work. After a long keyboards intro, Nokturnal Mortum,
starts with a furious 7 min. piece. This 6 piece band contains 2 keyboards
player, so, it's piece of evidence to find them regularly. Nokturnal Mortum
really play on its album, it doesn't sound like rhythm machine & all
musicians have reached a good musical level. This results to a solid musical
background, enriched by excellent keyboards parts. It's not only a few
notes played here & there to create surroundings. Keyboards also create
lots of melodies & sometimes, it's on them that songs seemed to have
been built. More, Nokturnal Mortum is not also this kind of band playing
the same riffs during 3 minutes or creating 9 minutes songs with only 3
guitars chords. All songs are really built & their structure is quite
complex, like it was in thrash metal in the 90's. So, there's various tempos
within each songs, from the loudest one to the speedest one.
So, Nokturnal Mortum released a solid album, which is
highly recommended for black metal fans.
Featured in: SCOOPS
CENTRAL.COM by Seriah
....impressive, at least to me, is a band that goes by
the name of Nokturnal Mortum. This is intense Black Metal, very complex,
energetic, and memorable. There sometimes sounds like there are three or
more different parts layered together, and they almost sound like they
shouldn't fit together, but they do, and quite perfectly, at that! Seven
tracks of absolutely great Black Metal... Very original, with lots of time
changes and cool little things thrown into the mix, making this one of
the best Black Metal releases that I have heard in quite some time (and
it goes right up there with the new Cradle of Filth album)... And to top
it off, these guys hail from the Ukraine. Nokturnal Mortum's CD is entitled
Featured in: CHRONICLES
OF CHAOS#31, 57 Lexfield Ave, Downsview Ont., M3M-1M6, CanadaNOKTURNAL
by: Brian Meloon
Nokturnal Mortum hail from ...Ukraine, and play high
quality black metal. Their lineup features two keyboardists, playing
at the same time, but often not playing the same parts. That causes
some sections to sound like three songs being played at once. Both
keyboardists are very good, and mix both classical and folk influences
into the music. They also use some unique instrumentation to give
certain sections a distinct atmosphere. Some of the keyboards are a little
too happy (think "Bal Sagoth"), but most are consistent with the
music's dark atmosphere. The songs are varied, and feature some interesting
changes...The production isn't as clear or powerful as it could be, but
it gives the music a mysterious, obscure sound...
Featured in: AGONY#13,
B.P. 15, 59260 Hell-Emmes, France
As already planned, and introduced, with their compilation
Cd "Until The End Of Time" check the compilation CDs review page), The
End Records are releasing Ukraine's symphonic Black metallers', Nokturnal
Mortum... This band, unknown to me before I listened to their stuff on
the afore-mentioned comp, was the one I thought was the best among the
ones to release an album through The End. Despite the fact that they come
from an under-rated country when it comes to metal, this band manages
to have a very good sound and above all, some of the best epic and symphonic
evil black metal tracks from those days. Sure, it reminds a lot bands like
Cradle Of Filth ("Dusk ..." era), new Dimmu Borgir or even new Emperor
for they are all four part of the same scene, but it also has its own times
and particularities with adding a more aggressive approach, generally speaking,
than all those bands have, all of this combined with some kind of horror-like
parts, which is to be labelled as the forthcoming trend (Tartaros, Gloomy
Grim, etc ...) ... definitely an item each fan of twisted metal, even not
fan from black stuff, like me, should include in its collection . Beware
all you infatuated western people, I already warned you of Eastern's Europe's
killer bands ready to attack you all, and I really think this is time for
them to attack ...
Featured in: CHAOTIC
This is a band that many people may not know about.
They are a black metal band that hails from [Ukraine]... I got the
CD as a promo and when I played it, the music surprised the hell out of
me. The first thing I noticed was that the band's lineup includes
two keyboard players. The CD starts with a keyboard intro that is
one of the best I have heard. The songs are of epic lengths, all
of about 10 minutes. The music is very complex in my eyes.
The drums at times kinda sound like a drum machine, sort of like limbonic
arts, but they are real. the vocals are high, but more scratchy than
shrieking. The keyboads dominate, but they are very good. One
keyboard will keep longer orchestral sounds while the other will have shorter
beats and faster tempos, kind of like lead and rythym guitars. The
production is amazing. all of the components can be heard clearly.
The guitars do there job, no solos, but they move and compliment the keyboards
well to fulfill the sound. Some good accoustic parts make a nice
touch as well. I recommend this album to everyone so they can hear
the brilliance of the truley unique keyborad sound. The two keyboards
and full use of drums, bass and two guitarists makes one if the most complete
sounding albums I have heard.
Featured in: THE
CRUSADER, P.O.Box 39550, Garsfontein, Pretoria, South Africa
Extremely atmospheric Black Metal
from the Ukraine, Nokturnal Mortem bring forth 7 tracks of the highest
callibre Metal I have ever heard in this arena. I usually can't stand Keyboards,
Nokturnal Mortum have two keyboard players, and suprisingly enough I like
it. Track 1 "Black Moon Overture" is a classically influenced instrumental
track sounding very folkish with it's wind
instruments. 2 tracks of pure Blackness follow in the classic tradition,
then suddenly "Unholy Orathnia" kicks in once again with major folk influences
in the introduction but soon the blackest of emotions take over... Kolyada
features traditional singing as found on Bathory's Viking albums. This
is a band that you will hear a lot of in the near future, trust me.
Featured in: DYING
ZINE, 28 Highland Road, Bloomingdale, NJ 07403
Not since I heard "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" by Mayhem,
or "In the Nightside Eclipse" by Emperor, have I gotten such a feeling
from a black metal band. This ... band of demons has been unleashed
from the Ukraine by The END Records, and they seem to take no prisoners.
The brutal blackmetal of Nocturnal Mortum, is touched off with dark, horrifyingly
beautiful keyboard and organ fills, and an atmosphere that makes you feel
as if you were in the Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains, under a full moon
night. They combine a tinge of Russian/Ukrainian folk-music as well,
to give you that feeling, and actually put you there. The END Records
is putting out, in my opinion, the best music in the world at the moment.
This album will be a black metal classic, and should be heard by anyone
claiming to be into metal immediately. If you do get this album though,
I will make a $100 bet, that you won't be able to
read the logo of the band (not counting the inverted crosses).
Featured in: SEA
OF TRANQUILITY, 1103 Falconwood Road, Louisville, Kentucky
It's great to see that there are still good upcoming
bands in the black metal genre. Even though there has been more than enough
reasons to complain about a lack of quality and an overly generic nature
of the recent releases from an astonishing majority of the
bands in the field, there's still plenty of talent that appears to be coming
from all over the world. Ex-republics of the former USSR were not
exactly know for giving birth to anything remarkable up until now.
However, with Nokturnal Mortum and Vale releasing their latest CD through
the upcoming End Records label, this may soon change for better.
The strength of many of the modern day black metal bands
defintely lies in their ability to succesully integrate agressive fast-paced
black metal attack with a plethora of keyboard orchestrations interlaced
with a swarm of complex musical structures. Musically proficient
and technically skilled, Nokturnal Mortum have probably come as close to
actually interbreeding Bal-Sagoth like grandiose walls of orchestrated
madness and Emperor's hyperspeed black metal art. The added plus here is
the band's great ear for the folk melodies of their homeland Ukraine. Even
though at times one can observe that the guitars need to be more upfront
especially when the keyboard sound basically drowns out everything else,
I'd still rather ignore it for now due to the lack
of production experience (it's very understandable given that they have
recorded in their hometown of Kharkov - they are yet to grow their own
Pytten over there)
Coming off as a bit too artsy at times, Nokturnal Mortum
still manage to convincingly pull it off with every song on the record.
Most of them run for over 6 minutes but you don't feel like any given song
drags or anything of that sort. Nicely arranged and put together, the material
has a strong Southern European flavor to it that allows them to successfully
portray the mysticism and an enigmatic darkness that oozes from that region.
By the same token, the early Rotting Christ recordings were just as perfect
in portraying the feelings of actually embracing the ancient past. Maybe
with a slightly rawer production, "Goat Horns" would be a perfect ode to
the pagan kingdom of Veles. But still, songs like "Unholy Oraphania"are
nothing short of amazing - I admit to listening to the majority of the
album at least 20 times.
According to the label's website, the band has already
recorded their new album called "To The Gates of Blasphemous Fire". Taking
in consideration the band's ability to create quite an ambience with their
truly unique brand of folkish black metal, we can expect quite an epic
release next time around. In the meantime, also check out such Russian
bands as With Night Came The Wind. There is quite a scene developing outside
of the Western hemisphere.
Featured in: SCREAM,
P.O. Box 3865, Ullevål Hageby, N-0805 Oslo, Norway
(Reviewed in SCREAM #41 by; AJ. Blisten)
When a BM band obviously are inspired by classical music
we might as well label them as "blacksical" metal. This Ukranian band have
done just that in a delicious way. The use of bagpipes contributes also
to the bands distinctive character very much down the same path as Skyclad.
A very promising debut indeed from an interesting new band. - AJ
Featured in: SOUNDSCAPE,
CP 65144, CSP Place Longueuil, Longueuil, Québec, Canada, J4K 5J4
Is that me or most of the Russian [and Ukrainian] bands
are kicking ass?! MENTAL HOME, SUNCHARIOT... And now, ladies and gentlmen,
here comes the heavyweight contender, all Black Metal classes confounded:
NOKTURNAL MORTUM!!! Unholy fuckin' shit, this band is brilliant!!! They
have everything to rank up there with EMPEROR and DIMMU BORGIR (probably
even dethrone DIMMU...) and to say I was expecting this would be considering
you all a bunch of idiots!!! I never expected such a great album from this
totally unknow bunch of weirdos... This really took me by surprise and
shit, it will have the same effect on most of you out there!!! Powerful,
angry and definitely a step ahead of every so called Viking Metal jerks
ripping off EMPEROR and the likes... NOCTURNAL MORTUM's force resides in
their way of creating the most pounding atmospheres and horror movie-like
sound tracks... It's almost frightening!!! This band features genuine musicians
and composers which, I would bet, take most of their influences outside
the Black Metal realm... I am sure these guys actually goes nuts over classical
icons like Mozart or Tchaikovsky... One way or another, this six piece
band is shredding everything I've heard in a while in the blackest of Metal's
renditions. My only complaint will go for the album's mix, which is a bit
difficult to embrassed at times, but as far as I'm concerned, this is not
a problem and shouldn't be for you neither... Get
this at all costs, it rips!!!
Featured in: CHAOTIC
CRITIQUES , P.O. Box 426, Lumby, BC Canada, V0E 2G0
As if the grandiose opening instrumental, "Black Moon
Overture", was not enough, Nocturnal Mortum puts forth a thunderous attack
of orchestrated black metal that will turn heads with its dynamic sonic
assault. NM seizes the standard black metal formula and fuses it
with a vigorous keyboard presence that nimbly creates the complex musical
textures and moods that separates NM from its blackened brethren.
Where Emperor is a chaotic, furious attack of frenzied melodies, NM executes
its well-conceived and arranged ideas a with classically-trained confidence
that commands your attention. Intelligent songwriting and mind-expanding
atmospheres encapsulate the attention of the listener in a translucent
black bubble that cuts off all sensory input with the exception of the
pummelling music. Of course, the black metal growls are present,
and the band does cut loose at strategic intervals, but NM prefers to tread
the mid- tempos and doesn't hit the reckless extremes. The production
of the drum and guitar sound is a tad on the weak side, detracting from
the forcefulness of the album, but other than that everything is in place
for NM to gain alot of attention with its unique approach.
Featured in: RUSSIAN
When thousands of bands try to copy each other it is
very hard to find true, original sound. Once again the saviour comes from
the world where landscapes are stunning and Gods are almighty. Nokturnal
Mortum hails from the woods of the Ancient Land Oriana (now Kharkov, Ukraine).
Too long folks of this land have been sitting in the cage, and now , like
a raging beasts, they come out not to follow but to be followed. "Goat
Horns" is a true combination of the power of the ancients (Ukrainian folk
music) and blazing power of the present (Black Metal). The music presented
by Nokturnal Mortum is extremely melodic (two keyboard players), the guitars
are raw but at the same time follow the smooth melody. Vocally the band
is very powerful (screams, growls, standard black vocal). The downfall
of the album is the absence of printed lyrics. Musically the band is amazing
and they are truly supreme in their area. Nokturnal Mortum is the embodyment
of the power of the great culture. They have created their own domain and
rule there. Noone can stop them! Behold the new coming!