Noctem album review – Haeresis

Dense, dramatic blackened metal from the eastern shores of Spain (i.e. the new album from Noctem)

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Formed in 2001 and releasing a full-length album every few years since 2009, Valencia’s Noctem have made a name for themselves thanks to the intensity of their embittered aural assault.

Taut, tense and technical, theirs is an apocalyptic and violent – yet also thoroughly controlled – attack. Behemoth are an obvious point of reference for the very contemporary combination of death and black metal traits: high-paced, tightly packed and frenzied deathly riffing, augmented with slower passages, haunting melodies and a sense of drama, dynamics and atmosphere that is more suggestive of black metal.

Thankfully there’s a lot more to Noctem than simply Behemoth comparisons. Insistent opener Through The Black Temples Of Disaster is not only a good indicator of what’s to come, but a standout composition – punishingly heavy yet memorable. Slower, more brooding songs such as Blind Devotion also stand out, and it will be interesting to see if the band build on this approach in the future.