Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review: Nocturnal - Nocturnal

At this point very little is known about the Swedish psychedelic rockers Nocturnal; there is no firm date of formation, background information or brief to-date history. All that is truly made clear is that their debut music video for "One of a Kind" appeared on Swedish television as early as January 21st, 2013, leaving a fair guess that the band formed recently in 2012 or perhaps even 2011. The four piece have seemingly appeared from outerspace and have now delivered their self-titled debut full-length album to the oxygen dwellers of planet Earth. What magic, if any, surrounds Nocturnal?

Genre: Heavy Metal/Psychedelic
Label: Gaphals
Release Date: May 8th, 2013
  1. Insecure
  2. One of a Kind (Space is There)
  3. Evil Times
  4. Cursing the Mindless Pt. I
  5. Satan's Shuffle
  6. Feels Like a Lie
  7. Demons
  8. Cursing the Mindless Pt. II (Queen of Silence)
Total Playtime: 37 minutes, 37 seconds




Rating: 8.5/10




More Nocturnal Articles and Reviews


At this point very little is known about the Swedish psychedelic rockers Nocturnal; there is no firm date of formation, background information or brief to-date history. All that is truly made clear is that their debut music video for "One of a Kind" appeared on Swedish television as early as January 21st, 2013, leaving a fair guess that the band formed recently in 2012 or perhaps even 2011. The four piece have seemingly appeared from outer-space and have now delivered their self-titled debut full-length album to the oxygen dwellers of planet Earth. What magic, if any, surrounds Nocturnal?

The ensuing eight tracks that Nocturnal have conjured up on their debut album begin with bluesy heavy metal jams that pick the listener up and take them on an expedition through the galaxy, tripping through space and time until they're returned with peaceful tranquility by the slowed down end of the material. "Insecure" revs the content up with hard rocking blues progressions that integrate well timed instrumental rests within the guitar and drum tracks, all the while flaunting a powerful set of melodious vocals and a thriving bass track; think Frequencies from Planet Ten by Orange Goblin, sound quality and all. The mentality of this track transcends the following songs, which gradually lose momentum over time as the material becomes more psychedelic and placid.

The production parameter heard on the album is extremely genuine in nature and completely void of any over produced post production bullshit that makes its way into so many releases of this modern era. The sound quality is raw enough to give off a fuzzy padding that envelopes the guitar, drums, bass and vocals in a warm embrace of authentic 1960's and 1970's era recording texture; this trait gives Nocturnal the modulation of being played off of a vinyl at all times rather than any digital or CD medium. Yet it's clear enough for the listener to hear each element clearly; the bass constantly makes its influence known, the acoustic guitar segments are definitively luminous, and the drums have just enough muffle to them to ensure that the snare, cymbals and bass kicks do not override the other components.


The songwriting skills portrayed through each song are acutely adept for a first attempt at an album, especially for one of this nature. When you think the album is going to take a left, it takes a right and throws in an extra loop for the sake of keeping the matter fresh. There are assorted effects thrown into the mix and none of them are found to be overused; the vocals go from clean, to having a mild echo effect, to a varying formula of flanger follow-ups. The guitar is no exception, as it is often found with a subtle aftermath of some degree whether it be a light distortion, flanger, or causing trouble jamming out in an acoustic tangent. Among other things, the listener will also hear organ keyboards, tambourines and bongo drums.

While there is a clear-cut heavy metal leverage lying underneath the material, the main structures are composed of blues inspired progressions, many of them finding their way embedded into the many solos that are strewn throughout the album in varying degrees; some laid back, others being more agile, while some are filled to maximum potential with pedal effects adjacent the clean portions. The heavy, walking bass lines are also attributed to a Steppenwolf style of rock n' roll blues as they thump along with the drums in the background. The Doors also make their appearance influence-wise into the content, in songs such as "Satan's Shuffle" and both parts of "Curse of the Mindless", especially in the vocals; this element has an excellent range of low to high ranges that speckle the content like stars as they follow along to certain instrument structures to create memorable vocal alignments.

An incredibly impressive debut album, Nocturnal is a unique registry that has a production quality raw enough to make it stand out among the over produced albums of modern day metal, a solid innovative combination of heavy metal and blues, and the vocals to carry the content through the solar system and back. Recommended to fans of old Orange Goblin albums, psychedelic enthusiasts, and even the stoner metal junkie that likes a taste of the lighter side of mind-blowing-while-high metal.

Physical Copy Provided by: Gaphals

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