Review: Nokturnal Mortum – Lunar Poetry (cass demo)

Following a recognisable history within early black metal Nokturnal Mortum released the “Lunar Poetry” demo. A culmination of roots musicianship, keyboard and synthesizer technology set against a backdrop of folk mythology and ethnic heritage. The band started in 1991 as Suppuration playing death metal, after signing to Final Holocaust and the eventual collapse of the label the band finished. Suppuration were eventually to form again as Nocturnal Mortum, then to reflect the change in genre the name eventually finished as Nokturnal Mortum. This adventurous demo demonstrates how walking a fine line can pay off ten-fold.

Make no mistakes, this album is saturated with keyboards but much like Emperor’s “…Nightside Eclipse” it really works. Plenty of comparisons can be made to the previous album, but they are on different planes. “…Nightside…” is an epic cold album, while “Lunar Poetry” is folkloric, pagan, mythological managing to remain unpretentious which would be the outcome if any other band produced a rip-off.

One contended issue is the inclusion of old-world folk music. The naivety and innocence of the simplistic melody construction is a reflection of nature in its pure state, not simply inexperienced musicians – although, that does play a part. Take “Perun’s Celestial Silver” which begins very minimally as a few folk notes, it then becomes slowly encased by the complete N.M. sound. Reminiscent of the purity of natural growth into something other-worldly and mythic, a minute or two later the song will have impressed you. All this talk of purity and heritage takes on various meanings when put it within the context of their political ideology, but whether you agree with them or not this album can stand independent as a work of black metal art that must be heard and appreciated.

The sound is a professional whole. Although keyboards are used heavily, they are used in the most artistic way by intertwining themselves with the guitar and drum[machine]. The overall tempo is consistently fast paced metal, not break-neck speeds but enough pace and energy to whip up the keyboard effect. There are many changes within songs; these variations keep the demo engrossing for its entirety. There are also some surprising guitar solos, reflecting their influence from a variety of sources. Much as the change in music, vocals range from haunting cries to vengeful screams all performed with intense sincerity and passion. These vocals are placed deep within the sound, certainly not dominating but also not lost. Again, the integration of all elements is perfected.

“Lunar Poetry” was ahead of it’s time when it was released, and continues to surpass bands who attempt something similar. The careful construction, naturalistic and ritualistic overtones combined with the inspiration of their Slavonic heritage make a legendary album.

Originally posted on BlackMetalWeb
Review score: 5/5

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