Nocturnal Depression - Spleen Black Metal - (7.5/10)
Published on June 8, 2015
The depressive black metal sub-genre is always quite intriguing. Musically based more on atmosphere and creating emotion, there is still plenty of “normal” black metal aspects from the cold, harsh guitars and the shrill screams of the vocalist(s). Nocturnal Depression are a great example of this genre, and their new release, Spleen Black Metal showcases some enjoyable DSBM within its near 47 minute run-time.
Being released just barely one year after the band’s prior effort, this new album hits the mark in many ways with regards to creating that tone that the depressive black metal side is known for. Mostly mid-range musically, the interplay with the instruments conjures up some truly beautiful sounding melodies and utterly downtrodden interludes. Nice thick bass accentuates the guitar lines, while the drums maintain a nice structure and groove, but maybe feel a little lost in the mix at times. Vocally, Nocturnal Depression stick with the higher range approach, which does feel a bit monotonous over the course of the record, but ultimately fits well with the music being played.
The overall progression of the album is quite nice as well, with perhaps a few lulls more in the middle of the album, but there is no denying the power of the first couple tracks and especially the closer, which hits the mark emotionally every time. However, those lulls do tend to bring down some of the enjoyment of the release, and bring up the biggest issue: memorability. Spleen Black Metal is a great listen while it’s playing. The band has a way with their music to make any listener bang their heads with the groove, be bummed or at least find some sort of brief catharsis within the melodious tracks, but once a piece ends, its just over. With the exception of “L’isolement” and the closing title track, there is not much to really remember once the album finishes. Much like the latest Forgotten Tomb recording, there are some good ideas and even some really enjoyable music, (in fact, I would say I prefer this to the new Forgotten Tomb) but suffers from just not quite reaching that level or having that “it” factor that helps it stand out above everything else and demand a re-play.
Spleen Black Metal hits the mark in many ways, mostly within the musical aspects of the genre, making sure that “depressive” side of the sound comes through fully, but just cannot capitalize on it to make it really impressive compared to other stand-outs in the scene. A great effort for sure, but hopefully Nocturnal Depression can continue to fine-tune what they do and break through a little more next time around.