Carpe Noctem - Vitrun review




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Reviewer:
8.2

23 users:
7.39
Band: Carpe Noctem
Album: Vitrun
Release date: October 2018


01. Söngurinn Sem Ómar Á Milli Stjarnanna
02. Upplausn
03. Og Hofið Fylltist Af Reyk
04. Hér Hvílir Bölvun
05. Úr Beinum Og Brjóski
06. Sá Sem Slítur Vængi Flugunnar Hefur Náð Hugljómun


Today's black metal scene in Iceland is a bit of a mixed bag, featuring both bands with very derivative songwriting as well as those who charge daringly into more unconventional territory. And at times bands like Carpe Noctem emerge, who cannot easily be classed in either category.

Five years after Carpe Noctem's powerful In Terra Profugus debut, the band is capitalizing well upon that first impression with Vitrun, an album that sees them diving even deeper into realms of decreased tempo and eerie ambiance straight from the tundra. It would be easy to compare the music here to Deathspell Omega, as there are indeed senses of Fas and Paracletus inspired dissonance and riffs at play, but this is a somewhat lazy parallel to draw. It would be more appropriate to say that Deathspell Omega are merely the cloak for Carpe Noctem, and that underneath that cloak a whole other heap of skin, flesh, and bone resides that is far more the band's own signature, replete with impressive vocal harmonization, guitars oozing of spine tingling, dreamlike melody, and a noticeably technical rhythm section (the overall composition on the third track especially is nothing to laugh at).

Vitrun is a slightly puzzling listen, because somehow it manages to position itself both in alignment with and in opposition to the prevailing sound of Icelandic black metal. Similarities to other bands in the scene can most certainly be drawn, particularly Svartidauði and Misþyrming, and the music Carpe Noctem conjure here, while distinct, is not unusual to point of being a complete anomaly. At the same time, however, the willingness they demonstrate at many moments on Vitrun to abandon the savage energy pursued by many of their contemporaries in favor of creating a more lulling, quasi psychedelic effect comes as more of an exception to the norm than as the norm itself (see tracks 4 and 5 particularly). At times while listening I find myself wishing Carpe Noctem had gone even deeper into this approach, evolving themselves into a more hallucinogenic beast a la Wormlust perhaps, but what is offered still leaves little to be desired, as it strikes a fantastic blend between orthodoxy and originality.

With Vitrun there should be few if any doubts that Carpe Noctem have surpassed their debut, as it is a release that sees them not just refining their initial approach, but also pushing it to the proverbial next level with new techniques that only help in serving to make their sound stick out more within the larger context of their scene. Within the realm of black metal in 2018, there are many bands that worship their predecessors to the point of becoming overly stale and boring, as well as others that can become experimental to a fault and devolve into sloppy masses of god knows what. Carpe Noctem do not appear comfortable with sitting in either of these two camps, and instead charge forward with Vitrun, skating one hell of a line between the two in the process.

"Sophomore slump," my ass.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


 



Written on 29.10.2018 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 76 users
30.10.2018 - 00:38
nikarg
Old Nick
I like this, the atmosphere is compelling. The slower, more hallucinogenic parts stand out for me and, like you, I also would have liked it more had they dived deeper into this approach. Very good album overall and I need to check out their debut I guess.
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30.10.2018 - 01:15
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by nikarg on 30.10.2018 at 00:38

I like this, the atmosphere is compelling. The slower, more hallucinogenic parts stand out for me and, like you, I also would have liked it more had they dived deeper into this approach. Very good album overall and I need to check out their debut I guess.

The debut isn't quite as unique as this one is, but even for the time it came out it felt a little different from what else was going on in the Icelandic scene at that particular moment. Still a good album
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"A little boy went out to play. When he opened his door, he saw the world. As he passed through the doorway, he caused a reflection. Evil was born. Evil was born and followed the boy."
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03.11.2018 - 01:38
Eccer
Good review, I think this describes my feelings about it. There is no slack, but just a forward march on what they already have done
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