By Thor

Spanish black metalers, Noctem have unleashed an audio tome of evil in the form of a new album called Oblivion.  Now, to be fair I must confess that I’m not a fan of black metal.  In fact, it’s really more accurate to say that I can’t stand the subgenre’s tropes whatsoever, from the visual aesthetic to the musical conventions to the worn out conceptual clichés. 


I have to admit that for a band that professes to play black metal, these guys are pretty damn good.  Closer to blackened death metal than full-on corpse paint and antlers black metal, Noctem do an admirable job of retaining an aggressive thrust throughout Oblivion.

After the requisite medieval instrumental opener, the first proper track, “The Arrival of the False Gods” launches out of the stereo like a flaming fucking corpse trebuchet-ed over the castle wall at mach-3, blistering blast beats and filthy vocal grunts in tow.  It’s immediately apparent that this brand of black metal is big on nuts and not quite as atmospheric as one might expect.  It’s, dare I say…brutal?  Yikes.

Subsequent tracks such as “Abnegation and Brutality”, and “Invictus”, follow this path of destruction while other tracks such as “Unredemption”, “A Borning Winged Snake”, and “Seeking the Ruin of Souls” are composed in a more typical black metal mold utilizing conventional, classical modes and essentially boring me to death.  The album ends with the thirteen-plus minute title track “Oblivion” which is an amalgam of both extremes and everything in between.
Noctem can play and they do pack a bigger punch than many of their evil brethren.  I guess it’s not realistic to feel disappointed that there’s black metal included on a black metal album, but the more visceral material is vastly superior in this reviewer’s opinion.  Oblivion is a well-produced, well-performed album sure to please the hordes of satanic, occultists cruising the strip looking for a virgin to sacrifice.