Cathartic Black Rituals by Nocturnal Departure
*SKIP TO HALFWAY DOWN THE PAGE FOR RECORD REVIEW, START HERE TO READ RANT ABOUT THE CURRENT LACK OF MUSIC REVIEWS, UPDATES ON THE SITE, AND SHAMELESS PODCAST PROMOTION.. READ HERE!!*
I am as aware as a ritual sacrifice victim whom’s toes are dangling off the crustaceous rim of a volcano with a stone-sharpened spearhead digging into the area between spinal vertebrae, that the “music review” section of the crypt has been rather scarce as of late, and before I am encapsulated in the blistering magmatic ooze patiently awaiting my death below, allow me the opportunity to explain WHAT’S GOING ON (- Marvin Gaye). Lo and behold! The Lifting Dead Army! Lay down your spears and retreat your artillery, blood, and barbells! For every time I get sent a link to a demo, review or playlist spot request (which is an unbelievable predicament all in of itself), or a naked picture attached to a record link and then everyone wonders why only those would be the ones selected for review… that just reinforces optimum spear penetration into my posterior until I am sacrificed to the ravenous gods of music media and online blog experts. THEREFORE, in a bout of self defense or really just offering an explanation because I fear not the skin-melting embrace of death, I will not review any piece of music that I do not want to. Just like anything else, really. And neither should you. That would piss on the grave off all DCL stands for and the message to YOU is to NOT do what they tell you, stay true to you, and kick some ass (metaphorically unless they really deserve it). Don’t mistake this for a woe is me dissertation, all input and requests are certainly valued and appreciated.. as YOU help ME keep my dead finger on the almost too alive pulse that is the underground music scene that I know, love, grew up with, and will most certainly die supporting. Music is everything to me, moreover than fitness, to be quite frank. As much as I live and breathe health & wellness, if the ultimatum is a burpee conditioning session or an underground death metal show my biggest decision will be which band’s merchandise am I going to purchase because I can’t afford to support all of them directly with my dollar. Yeah homies, you don’t get THAT rich selling satanic muscle tanks, coaching proper squat form, and writing reviews for bands that 15 people care about.. GO FIGURE. Read: if you can’t figure out that I do this strictly because I love it and I’m, just tryin’ to ‘have me some fun tonight’ while I do it, all while trying to support the art I love and help freaks like you & me along the way; you and I are not even in the same cemetery mindset- wise. So get in my cemetery dig this: Death Comes Lifting is not, and will never claim to be, a “professional” music media review content and/or insert pretentious title here operation… only because we’re a shit tons of coffins more than that!! I write all these reviews and maintain day to day crypt keeping and content building operations solo as fuck-en-stein, so the day has come where the music reviews, unlike bodies at our local morgue, are pouring in at slow rate. Naturally then, I am going to be way more selective with the records I will review as they may be more few and far between than usual.. the statement whiten the review must be strong. But the music must be stronger. It’s alllll about the music, always has been, and always will be, for the children. Blessings. To be quite frank yet again, the main “reason” as to why there have been a review scarcity over the last couple months… is.. *drum roll* *screams of agony* *moans of desperation* … there has been nothing released that I have been alll that excited about!! Unlike most music review sites, I do not and will not review anything that comes across my realm.. and I will certainly not deliberately shit on a band with a negative review just because I think I can. For one, that’s just too damn easy. Ever hear me talk about current movies? I have enough negativity in my bloodstream I can spew, and I am more than capable of doing that with music too but I don’t want to invite that negative energy into my savior that is rock & roll. Secondly, all of my spare energy, change, and pints of blood, have been going into RE-VAMPING the crypt with site & store upgrades.. and of course, THE PODCAST. Ultimately, this will serve as superior underground music support platform than even if we churned out a written review a day.. let’s face it, you wouldn’t read them anyways bitch. The Death Comes Lifting Podcast will feature underground (and maybe not so underground) artists, bands, labels, venue and record store owners, etc all to better support the mission of fitness for the misfits and giving back to the heavy metal, punk rock, DIY, arts, comedy, and HORROR community. That being, said we absolutely will not steer away completely from reviews and/or journalism as writing is essential to creative expression and a valuable part of this operation.. they will just simply be more infrequent so when Death Comes Lifting reviews your shit, YOU’LL FUCKING KNOW. Thanks for listening, understanding, and supporting this heavy metal meathead with a romanticist writing dream; but for now all laser beams must be focused on the PODCAST to optimally spread our message. Which conveniently allows me to segway into our next review that had the gooesbumps on the back of my neck sprouting goosebumps on the back of their necks….
*REAL REVIEW STARTS HERE…DEAL WITH IT.*
Cathartic Black Rituals by Nocturnal Departure.
This monstrous record being co-released by a this dual headed demon beast, Redefining Darkness & Death Kvlt Productions (PURPLE VINYL), whom in my humble option, are two of the very best underground metal labels out there. This is old school black metal like you’ve always wanted to hear it… old school. This is black metal purest to the original formula complete with an unreadable logo, minimalistic yet inherently unsettling black and white album cover photography, lyrical content harkening back to the golden eras of frigid black metal psychological horror and blasphemy like “Ritualistic Vomit” … the listener knows exactly what he/she/it is in for. Blistering guitar, unholy machine gun snare, screeching for satan, high speed & lo-fi. Certainly this band of heretical saints hail from the frigid homelands of Scandinavia? Well, I’m afraid the best part of it all is, these motherfuckers are from CANADA. Ah yes, The Great White North to us ‘Muricafolk is responsible only for their inferior incarnation of bacon, hockey, and RUSH. Literally that’s IT. Alas, Nocturnal Departure can proudly be tacked onto that roster for their debut album Cathartic Black Rituals, with specialization in the traditional black metal category. Canadians must live up to the stereotype of being outlandishly nice, due to their lack of depressing hateful and blasphemous metal music in the name of our father Lucifer… until now!! From the introductory track, “The Incantation” which is a 3 minute test to see if you can get down with the depths of the Mental Abyss to which Nocturnal Departure is about to drag your head- banging corpse. It's dark, cenobite-esque electronica agony met with desolate howling winds perfectly project the vile and set the tone with slashing darkness. Rest assured, the black metal we know and love that could be found on any cassette tape in the 80’’s tears its way through the mix and into the area between your ears like a parasitic devil worm. With a spiteful spew of classic black metal vocalization, the rest of the band follows suit in an all out assault truly in the vein of early Mayhem, as cliche as that may be at the time of writing this. Personally, I’ve got the opposite of a problem with it. It is always refreshing to hear a new band do old school with a fresh take, it may never be the same, be if it ain’t broke… burn it, right?
The aforementioned tune “Ritualistic Vomit” starts with what I’m starting to see is Nocturnal Departure’s signature vocal “puke” that is not only essential to the black metal formula but makes me fucking smile. This is undoubtedly a standout track as it encapsulates all facets of Nocturnal Departure’s sound through ice cold whiplash-inducing tempo changes from slow and eerie guitar melody to renaming Winnipeg the blast beat capital of the North. The follow up, “Astral Transcendence” further emphasizes the depressive side of their sound relying heavily on their almighty bass tone, transient chord progressions, and ritualistic cymbal patterns amongst black metal howls; before yet again shape-shift into the thunderstorm that is their signature sound. For as confining of a genre as traditional black metal can be, for better or for worse, Nocturnal Departure do a mighty fine job at keeping their tunes sounding fresh and interesting as the album rolls on. This is due to their abilities to step out side of the box/coffin juuuust a little bit and emphasize some experimentation within their tunes. A downbeat groovy bass supplying haunting incantation summoning vibes and restrained guitar melody add an extra depth of atmosphere to their sound that would be unachievable through standard issue church-incinerating tempos alone. The combination of the the latter, however, proves to be the ideal situation for these Canadian black metal war lords. That’s not to say, they don't have some straight for the jugular, rooted in evil tunes from the jump; just check out the title track full of throat shredding screams, absolutely RIPPING guitar tone, classic graveyard in a trashcan drum sound, that screams power and might from beginning to finish. Conveniently, the follow up track “Monolithic Decay” definitely tiptoes its cloven hooves into actual death metal territory with more than enough head banging inducing chugging and plundering rhythm, dripping in blood. All before wrapping it up with a masterclass in dynamic extreme songwriting, “Insidious Strangulation” …and it sounds just like you think it does!
Sure, these guys display solid musicianship and desire to rip faces off all that is holy within their playing abilities… but what really makes this standout amongst the sea ‘o black metal flooding the underground is it’s genuinely raw production orchestrated in such a way that it sounds fresh. Quite the nondescript description, I know, but it’s something you must truly engross yourself in for a few listens to understand. As the mix is superb for the lo-fi and intentionally abrasive sounding genre the this record is carrying the torch for. As much as I am a total sucker for bass tone and especially the (slightly) experimental use of the instrument on this record, I could not get enough of the drum sound achieved on this album. Please don’t get me wrong, the fact that you can actually hear and feel the bass on every track is a HUGE win for this record in my book, but the drums do take it by storm. Drums are almost taken for granted on an extreme metal recording, so the tone of them truly make or break a lot of (especially standard black metal) extreme music. The interesting percussion patterns and atmospheric melodies weave together in such a way like true demon souls searching for heavy metal harmony.. the result is such that they may have used actual black magic. No really, it’s that good. Band leader, guitar sorcerer, and vocalist Funeror; is far from the most extreme, varied, or even technically that great signer I’ve ever heard… but, completely unforgettable and unique. Some bands simply have it or they don’t, whatever “it” may be, Nocturnal Departure has it, and I can use my powers to force a bright..err, grim and dark.. future for them. This is an absolute essential black metal release of this year. Crank it!!!
GYM RATING: 4/5
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