Somnium Nox come from Sydney and this black metal group have just dropped Terra Inanis, the bands first full length anf the follow up to last years ‘Apocrypha’ EP. Google translates Terra Inanis as ‘the empty’ and whilst I can’t speak latin, the implied meaning isn’t lost on me because this is as dark, atmospheric and brutal as you could expect.
Before I continue I must give a DISCLAIMER:
Black metal..in general..is not my jam. Just…no.
All that face paint, spikes and tacky theatrics can just fuck right off. It makes me want to scream ‘just play your fucking music and let that be enough’. Fuck. The vocals? Shut up. The guitar tones? Stop it. The drums? Can you do anything else? Geeeez..
But get this..
This right here..this is excellent music.
Three tracks, 28 minutes of blasts, drones, acoustic guitar, ambient post-rock and black metal. Wow. The first piece ‘Soliloquy Of Lament’ starts with a beautiful soft guitar and builds with layers until the band more or less destroy any and all sense of calm to rip right into the black metal component of their sound. The dynamics of what they can achieve within a fairly consistent and one dimensional sonic template .. (that being drums which resemble a train crossing and guitars which force melody into razor sharp shredding and chords..) is commendable. I was hooked from the beginning and couldn’t turn my attention away.
Another familiar trait of the blackened genre is the scathing and searing vocals that often accompany this style. Whilst still very much present in this music, the vocals thankfully sit behind other elements in the mix and could almost be mistaken for some kind of static/white noise or distant screaming. In any case it’s great because you can never understand it (don’t pretend you do) and yet you simply have to have it in there. So what I commend Somnium Nox for is the choice to feature musicality and production in favour of the abrasive and frankly unappealing vocal styles to make the material on show here..truly stand out.
SO .. you don’t like black metal? Try this.
You like post metal, post rock and stuff like that but not black metal? Then try this.
You disappointed with the last Opeth record? Try this.
You like grindcore, powerviolence and other sub-sub genres? Try this.
This is basically me.. on all accounts and im telling you to try this out.