Nostoc - Ævum album review

Progressive Costa Ricans go exploring without a map

Cover art for Nostoc - Ævum album

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With musicians whose influences seem to stretch across metal’s broad spectrum and a vocalist who sounds like a death metal jukebox, these Costa Rican upstarts have a point to prove, and a seemingly limitless space in which to explore. Ultimately these seven tracks are exercises in discovering new environments and sounds rather than constructing anything concrete, though after repeated listens the tech-death symphonies begin to materialise. Transmute refuses to be contained as it shifts from belligerent riffing and guttural vocals to spacey leads and restrained fretwork, concluding with the lush sweeping textures Enslaved have made their own. The Anamnesic Voyage (sic) briefly escapes the barrage of foul extremity for expressive guitar work and delicate picking, and depending on your constitution, following the avalanche of riffs and twists of 11-minute closer Delirium you’ll either be enthralled by the experience or exhausted.

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.