By Dr. Abner Mality

There are several bands with the Noctem monicker lurking about these days. This band hails from Spain and plays blazing fast symphonic death metal. So don't get them confused with the Swedish 70's retro-rockers because they couldn't be more different.

This band is one of many mining the Behemoth vein of fast, diabolical metal with symponic and melodic touches. That is becoming a rather crowded sub-genre, which doesn't help Noctem's cause. I find this style to be rather clean and shiny for my degenerate tastes, but Noctem throw themselves with gusto into the fray and emerge with a serviceable record. One thing's for sure, they don't spare the mustard when it comes to speed....most tracks here blast along at a machine gun pace. That brings with it the curse of digitized drumming, which I'm afraid is rather noticeable here. The tunes are fast and powerful, but most are not capable of entering the realm of classic.

The record has its high points. "The Rising Horns" has a sick and twisted little riff to it while "The Splint of Destinations" shows Noctem mixing speeds to good effect and adding in classical elements almost but not quite to the level of Septicflesh. "The Adamantine Doors" shows them at their most extravagant while the short and very brutal "Divine Xibalba" is a potent and deadly sting.

At no point was I encouraged to leap from my chair and declare undying allegiance to Noctem, but neither was I moved to scorn or boredom. You may take that recommendation for what it is worth.