"Final Sacrifice"

By Don S. MacCobb

Alright, that's it, I can't take it anymore!  Consider my hands officially thrown up in the air, in disgust!  I want to hate this subgenre of "retro rock", I really do.  I'd like to shove my nose high in the air and haughtily say, "All these Swedish retro rock bands sound the same, and I'm getting sick of the whole scene and blah, blah, blah".  But I can't.  I won't!  Because, it doesn't matter how many Scandanavian bands there are playing it old school, they all sound different from each other and their music is mostly ... how do you say, 'jävla fantastiskt'?

And now there's Noctum.  They're a retro rock band.  Of course, there's more to it than that.  There always is, which is just the point.  Even within a metal subgenre like doom, which is obsessed with the old days, retro rock (as a sub-subgenre) is extreme in its reverence for yesteryear.  Noctum (do the predictably unthinkable thing and) play around with the conventions, adding punk and thrash metal patches to the denim vest of Sabbath, Priest, Lizzy and AC/DC worship.  Then again, similar stuff has been done before (of course it has), but (then again) it hasn't as this is a unique band and ... argh!  It twists the mind up just thinking about it.  Them Swedes'll have you running around in circles, chasing your own tail without you even knowing how things got to be that way.

Opening number "Conflagration" adds doses of doom to wailing power metal and sets the stage nicely for the rest of the album to follow.  This is what you're going to get with 'Final Sacrifice'.  This quartet may be Sweden's heaviest retro rock band.  I won't say that Noctum does away with 'the slow songs' altogether, but it's not a point of focus with the band and the presence of slow songs isn't nearly as prevalent as on most other albums labelled 'retro rock'.  Basically, this is the metalhead's throwback rock n roll album.  When Noctum slows things down, things get downright evil and that's just the way I like it!  With countrymen Ghost (B.C.) getting more and more cartoonish on their latest album and EP, Noctum makes for a beautiful antidote.

Damn Swedes and their good looks, gold metal winning hockey team, world-class auteurs and excellent rock bands!