Numenoreans are folk of Numenroea – an island in Middle Earth where lived the greatest of men. Yup more Tolkien in metal. Here though Numenorean are a post (ish) Black Metal band from Calgary. Their debut “Home” in 2016 was a collection of bleak dark tracks rendered even more so by the controversial cover – a police photograph of an oddly serene two year old child’s corpse, murdered by her father. That certainly set certain corners of the interwebs ablaze.
Now three years later the quintet have returned on a new label – Season of Mist and with new colours in their palette. “Adore” adds in some hope and smiling melancholy as well as pure rage, stabs of pastel amongst the charcoal sketches. Being a fan of guitarist Roger LeBlanc’s genre fluid project RAW I should have expected the twists of style and emotion within the album.
Opener “Nocebo” is Sierra Leone reimagined by My Bloody Valentine leading into the delightfully downbeat “Portrait of Pieces”. Bloodflowers era Cure oozes through the intro before the quintet plunge into a blastbeat laden black metal attack. There are elements of post hardcore in here. A break down half way through being reminiscent of Quicksand at their most emotive. This is not cookie cutter Deafheaven worship. The vocals, which are shared between Brandon Lemley, Byron Lemley and LeBlanc move seamlessly from melodeath rasp to unholy blackened roar to pained hardcore shout. So many textures in both the music and the vocal delivery.
“Horizon” brings together elements of early In Flames, the Haunted and Converge to create a delicious early 2000’s hybrid without a sell by date. This is a track to windmill one’s luscious locks to. Where are my wigs???? Soaring guitar breaks and acoustic passages add to a strangely positive feel for a song with such bombast. “Horizon” is one of those tracks that makes your heart soar and the hairs on your arms stick up. Maybe that is why the band followed it with a gentle instrumental “And Nothing Was the Same” to give the listener chance to gather thoughts and stop looking like an Echidna.
Thank fuck they were courteous enough to do that. “Regret” is a full on blast to the senses. This is certainly not the shoegaze that people have come to expect from the so called post Black world. There is more in common with Wear Your Wounds and Kowloon Walled City than there is ALCEST and An Autumn For Crippled Children. By the crescendo I am an emotional wreck.
The baritone vocals of “Stay” bring to mind the late David Gold of fellow Canadian’s Woods of Ypres and carry with it Gold’s lovelorn despondent style.
“Coma” induces nothing like. Frantic riffing and thunderous drums, black metal vocals that turn to airy roars. This is fun fuelled, rocking metal at its finest. No clichés or misogyny just raw, primal rock and roll for a darkened hall filled with smoke and the smell of stale beer.
Post punk heartache is given a nod with the two minute “Alone” before the title track opens with an intro that could be off Blink 182’s eponymous 2003 album (that is a compliment by the way –haters) before roaring into life. Again, Numenorean seamlessly mesh together melodic death metal and the melodies and angles of hardcore. If you like The Dusk in Us you will dig this. So many sing along moments in this track alone alongside fist pumps heads down mosh bits and high strap air bass emo wig out sections. It’s too much! It makes me feel like a teenager with the wisdom of a middle aged man which just about describes my psyche. Shit these bastard Cannucks have got in my head!
Ending with the acoustic DDHS gives me a chance to take stock. Numenorean have taken a lake of emotion and thrust it into the bleak beautiful world of Post Black Metal forcing the listener to look up from their New Rocks and Converse and gaze at the sky instead.
Angry, emotional, heartrending, passionate, magnificent, inspirational. Every track oozes with life – as dirty and raw and covered in bodily fluids and joyful sweat as it should be.
(9/10 Matt Mason)