Novarupta - Marine Snow review


21 users:
Band: Novarupta
Album: Marine Snow
Release date: November 2020

01. Broken Blue Cascades [feat. Josh Graham]
02. Every Shade Of Water [feat. Lea Amling and Robert Lamu]
03. Trieste [feat. Martin Persner]
04. No Constellation [feat. Mike Paparo]
05. 11°22.4?N 142°35.5?E [feat. Arvid Hällagård]

You can take the man out of The Moth Gatherer, but you can't take The Moth Gatherer out of the man.

Novarupta is the current project of multi-instrumentalist Alex Stjernfeldt, formerly drummer and then multi-instrumentalist in Swedish post-metal outfit The Moth Gatherer. Stjernfeldt has been busy since initiating the project in 2018, with Marine Snow already his second full-length album. Eschewing the possibility of forming a full band, Novarupta instead sees Stjernfeldt taking on all instrumental responsibilities and recruiting a variety of guest vocalists for each album, with one or more different individuals contributing to each song. That's the background to Novarupta covered, now it's time to talk about Marine Snow.

To describe the sound of the album, look no further than the opening line; if you've heard The Earth Is The Sky, you can probably anticipate what a lot of Marine Snow will sound like, standard lengthy post-metal songs with soft/loud transitions, some muscly riffs in the heavier sections, and shimmering tremolo and electronics woven in and out of songs to flesh out the atmosphere. The Moth Gatherer is really the easiest comparison to make sonically, but there's also substantial overlap with acts such as Moanaa. There's no real musical surprises here, and nothing here really rises above the crowd in terms of quality, so Marine Snow will be enjoyable to fans of post-metal whilst being unlikely to convert any naysayers.

The vocal side is the source of most of the diversity across Marine Snow; Stjernfeldt hasn't pulled off any huge coups this time around to rival acquiring the services of Dark Tranquillity's Mikael Stanne on last year's debut record Disillusioned Fire, but there's still a respectable roster of guests on Marine Snow, with Josh Graham (A Storm Of Light, ex-Neurosis), Mike Paparo (Inter Arma) and Martin Persner (ex-Nameless Ghoul in Ghost) arguably the highlights.

The collection of musicians features both harsh and clean vocalists, providing some diversity to the tracklist; however, the intensity of the surrounding music doesn't necessarily adjust to reflect the different approaches. Paparo's deep booming growls are the most extreme element on Marine Snow, but "No Constellation" doesn't necessarily deliver a musical intensity to react to this, instead predominantly featuring mid-tempo chord strumming throughout that doesn't deviate substantially from the guitar approach on Persner's "Trieste" (the song that most reminds me of Moanaa instead of The Moth Gatherer). It might've been nice for Stjernfeldt to take advantage of the different tones that having a death metal growler like Paparo compared with a stoner rock vocalist such as Greenleaf's Arvid Hällagård could have on "No Constellations" and "11°22.4?N 142°35.5?E", respectively; the latter is perhaps a bit more muted in terms of guitar heaviness, but the differences could have easily been more pronounced, as vocals aside Marine Snow is a somewhat constant experience throughout.

I find Marine Snow to be a moderately enjoyable listen; Stjernfeldt is an experienced musician within post-metal and is clearly adept at judging shifts in song dynamics and the raising intensities of build-ups. However, The Moth Gatherer's first album since his departure, last year's Esoteric Oppression, saw his former group pushing themselves sonically and making exciting music as a result, whilst it feels like Stjernfeldt is yet to truly establish a clear musical identity with Novarupta and deliver something that rises above the confines of its genre.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 5
Production: 8


Written on 29.11.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 3   Visited by: 49 users
30.11.2020 - 10:45
Enemy of Reality
Well, i enjoyed this release a lot. Yes, it does not reinvent the wheel in terms of post-metal, but the songs really stuck with me since the first listen. It reminds me of the best Neurosis/CoL/Isis.
30.11.2020 - 12:06
Written by Enemy of Reality on 30.11.2020 at 10:45

Well, i enjoyed this release a lot. Yes, it does not reinvent the wheel in terms of post-metal, but the songs really stuck with me since the first listen. It reminds me of the best Neurosis/CoL/Isis.

Yeah, I doubt anyone will argue it's particularly original, so it will depend on how well it clicks with people. Personally, I found it relatively forgettable for the genre (definitely wouldn't say it approached anything those bands you mentioned have done), but glad that you enjoyed it a lot, sounds like a few others have too
11.12.2020 - 19:31
Au Pays Natal
Fuck. I missed this. Hope this is as good as their debut.

Hits total: 751 | This month: 74