Rating:
8.7
Nocte Obducta - Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)
1 March 2013


01. Kerkerwelten - Teil 1
02. Gottverreckte Finsternis
03. 01-86 Umbriel
04. Dinner Auf Uranos
05. Mehr Hass
06. Leere
07. Ein Nachmittag Mit Edgar
08. Reprise Dinner Auf Uranos
09. Kerkerwelten - Teil 2


Germany's Nocte Obducta have been a lot like Blut Aus Nord in terms of the progression of their sound over the course of their discography. Much like their French contemporaries, the band began their sonic assault with a more straight-edge, albeit darkly atmospheric, traditional black metal approach. Then, towards the middle of their career, that sound began to evolve into some more progressive territory with the fantastic Nektar albums, until only recently taking a more avant-garde approach with 2011's Verderbnis. Now, in 2013, Nocte Obducta have refined the formula employed on their previous album into a more cohesive result, the final product being Umbriel, an excellent work that sees the band branching out beyond their traditional black metal confines unlike ever before.

Nocte Obducta present the listener with a lot to swallow with the avant-garde journey that is Umbriel, but one of the first things you'll notice is the overall upgrade in production. Here, perhaps more than ever, the overall sound of the music is all-inclusive and all-enveloping: the composition shrouds the listener in the eerily melancholic combination of an eerie synthesizer foundation ("01-86 Umbriel," "Gottverreckte Finsternis"), a highly atmospheric, almost psychedelic guitar tone ("Leere," "Ein Nachmittag Mit Edgar"), and a well-executed blend of both clean and black metal vocals (both "Kerkelwelten" tracks). Each part of the puzzle is brought out with crisp accentuation; nothing ever really comes across as being buried in the mix or not having a chance to breathe, a perfect technique for the more multi-layered direction that Nocte Obducta are going for with their songwriting these days.

The key word with Umbriel, then, is atmosphere. There are plenty of examples across the nine tracks of Nocte Obducta getting into extended periods of dreamlike instrumentation, that in many such instances come across as quite relaxing, notably in the middle of "Leere" and towards the end of "Dinner Auf Uranos." The black metal elements, when they do appear, are quite subtly interwoven with the rest of the equation, such as the mixture of the shrieks with the clean vocals, or the more aggressive approach taken on "Mehr Hass." In many ways, then, Umbriel almost comes across as more of a dark ambient album with a few extreme elements thrown in than as an actual black metal album, a fact that will no doubt strike the usual divide between fans who do and don't enjoy the more experimental leanings of the genre.

Furthermore, Umbriel is without question one of Nocte Obducta's best-produced and all around best-composed albums to date, and I for one hope to see them keep this sound going that they've now delved into. If you like your black metal atmospheric, with plenty of long, entrancing periods in the music in which to fall back and get lost, then do not pass up this release. Also, if this is your first time hearing Nocte Obducta, I highly recommend checking out Umbriel first, and then working your way backwards in their discography, to see for yourself just how far these guys have come in the evolution of their musical style over the years.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Nocte Obducta
Album: Umbriel (Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen)


 



Written on 11.04.2013 by
Apothecary
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a master. But without innovation, it is a corpse."
-Winston Churchill
More reviews by Apothecary ››



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Susan - 11.04.2013 at 00:35  
Sounds intense! I plan to listen to this on a rainy evening

But seriously: that is some of the most INTERESTING cover art I've seen in ages.
Apothecary - 11.04.2013 at 01:06  
Written by Susan on 11.04.2013 at 00:35

Sounds intense! I plan to listen to this on a rainy evening

But seriously: that is some of the most INTERESTING cover art I've seen in ages.

"Rainy day albums" are usually either depressingly gloomy or eerily haunting with their music, the latter being the case with Umbriel. And yes, the cover is awesome, definitely what initially drew me towards checking out the album in the first place. I've been wondering what exactly it's trying to depict ever since I looked at it though... seems like a group of sorcerers all looking up at the sky for some reason. Das Schweigen Zwischen Den Sternen means "The Silence Between The Stars" in German, maybe that has something to do with it
BoxCar Willy - 11.04.2013 at 03:32  
Yeah, cool art. Will have to check this out.
Dark 3.13 - 11.04.2013 at 08:51  
Great Review they deserve it ,,, I bet you their album will be in the metal storm awards 2013
Merchant of Doom - 11.04.2013 at 15:26  
Very good stuff!
blackmamba - 11.04.2013 at 21:48  
It's good, it's atmospheric, it's well produced, and well composed. I can agree with all that, but I wouldn't call it avant grade or black metal. But who the hell cares? this is a solid album.
R'Vannith - 24.04.2013 at 18:46  
This has been the discovery of the week for me, thoroughly immersed in it! Thanks for the review.
PocketMetal - 28.04.2013 at 20:11  
This is certainly not black metal anymore , but it is pretty avantgarde I would compare their evolution to Todtgelichter instead of Blut Aus Nord .
trez0r - 30.04.2013 at 21:03  
I't has been some time since I used to classify music by genre. Now I rather like to classify it in categories good / bad. This definitely goes into former as could be said about any record of this particular band. Really talented guys and really great album, can't stop spinning it in my playlist!
MandoMikey - 06.05.2013 at 18:11  
Great, so many beautiful melodies winding thier way about the place. an album that reveals a little more of itself every time its played. i had "01-86 Umbriel" stuck in my head for days when i first heard it. For me, the best of 2013 so far.

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