With “Nocturnal Empire II”, we once again get a sampler disc with various artists and (somewhat) mixed results. All artists featured here are from the Metal rich land of Germany, which is why it’s no real surprise that most of the eight tracks on “Nocturnal Empire II” are of at least a decent quality, which is more than can be said for many compilations.
First up is MEGAERA with “Dreckiges Blut”, a Thrashy Black Metal affair with vocals that remind a bit too much of Dani Filth’s mid-range, but it’ll still get you handbanging in no time. MONDRAGON’s “Waiting For” follows-up with excellently written and performed Folk Metal, bringing to mind Russia’s NOMANS LAND. The mix of raspy Black Metal vocals and stylings with epic clean sections is nothing new, but MONDRAGON pulls it off splendidly.
Dirty, under-produced, 90s Norwegian-style Black Metal is the flavor of “Eine Letzte Träne” from NACHTSUCHT. Not normally my forte, so I hesitate to pass judgment, but the track seemed to hold up well. Brutal Death Metal with technical flourishes, guttural vocals and a smattering of groove is what PHILOSOPHER brings on “Within Aeons”. A bit dirtier and less polished than many Death Metal albums coming out today (BEHEMOTH, especially).
More Death Metal is on tap with SUMMER’S DYING and their track “Creation”. Stirring in a bit of melody, some Trash-parts and a bit of Blackened aesthetics, and you get a full-on, neck-breaking assault. Good stuff. Following is a return to Black Metal, this time of the more melodic variety, with VICIOUS CIRCLE’s “This Forest’s Dark Heart”. Once again, I kid you not, here is vocalist that sounds like Dani Filth (mid-range again, no shrieking). But unlike MEGAERA’s singer, this guy is an absolute dead-ringer, to the point that I would think Mr. Filth were providing guest vocals if I didn’t know any better (listen to the mp3 above, and e-mail me to let me know what you think). This would probably be a really good track, but it’s all but ruined by weak and lifeless female singing that continually interrupts all the good parts.
WEEDS FOR WITCHES’ “Mertyrer” is the only really bomb on the compilation, rather odd and indescribable. Imagine a mix of THE CURE, some atmospheric Black-something and a person who just had his mouth numbed for some dental work moaning behind the microphone, and you get a bit of idea. And as seems to be a mandatory inclusion on all comps I’ve review, we get a female-fronted, NIGHTWISH inspired track in “Stolen Life” from XYLONITE IVY. Not nearly on the level with the band’s they’re trying to emulate, but not terrible either.
So there you have it.
(Online March 7, 2007)