Symphonic Black Metal band Nachtterror…no, hang on, merely using the term “Symphonic Black Metal” does not do Nachtterror justice. OK, as labels go, it’s not a million miles away and yes there are plenty of Symphonic Black Metal elements to their sound, but they’re not firmly positioned between Emperor or Dimmu Borgir here (though Nachtterror have their moments), as there is so much more going on in this bands multi-faceted approach. Of course, I’m stating this as someone who heard the band before he knew anything about them, just a link to a track and an offer to review them. I jumped at it and still reckon I lucked out on this one!
Yes, Nachtterror are a Black Metal band, granted, but on this their first full-length release it feels like when given the room to explore and push musical boundaries this band have totally embraced it. To make any particular comparisons is difficult as the progressive nature of the tracks and the variations therein mean that just one section of a song could remind me of In The Woods, then Age of Silence and maybe Kampfar, with sections of aggressive Symphonic Black Metal scattered between. Additionally, a track could explode into frenzied blast beats, then emerge out of something Arcturus might present, to dive headlong into a passage similar to Ved Buens Ende with maybe a dose of Oceans Of Sadness. If pushed to simplify, maybe this is Symphonic Black Metal with a Pagan/Black Metal approach of early to mid era Borknagar with some Avant-garde Winds-esque moments running through many of the other layers that each track holds…some of the time…
The vocals are shared between low-to-mid range melancholic clean, to gut-wrenching grunts and screaming harsh…plus much in between, depending on what the music demands. And that music is as varied and intricate as you could hope for (the 11 minute title track alone is proof of that!). The way this talented Canadian 6 piece work their way around a song is at times breath-taking, such is their unwillingness to comply to the norm. “Judgement” is an unpredictable and strikingly interesting album that refuses to be put in any particular box. This is not an album to be grasped in a couple of listens, and should appeal to avant-garde minded Black Metal fans everywhere as well as any fan of diverse Extreme Metal. This is an album that asks for time to grow and demands repeat attention, with a wealth of imaginative arrangements that delve into the band’s extensive repertoire – this is indeed an impressive album.
(8/10 Andy Barker)