Noctum, Uppsala Sweden’s classic metal quartet, return with their second full length album this October. Newly signed to Metal Blade Records; ‘Final Sacrifice’ sees the band continuing to romance the classic eras of heavy music, but perhaps with more emphasis on the heavy this time around. 2010’s debut ‘The Séance’ certainly packed a punch but with this new release, Noctum have really hit their stride.
You don’t have to wait long into the album for inevitable influence of Black Sabbath to rear its head. The way in which David Indelöf and Daniel Johannson shift through the guitar gears on opening track ‘Conflagration’ is channelled directly from Iommi. ‘Liberty in Death’ comes next which has a Saxon style crunch to it and is perhaps the biggest headbanger on the album thanks to some big riffs and a never-ending solo. ‘Resurrected in Evil’ continues the Saxon feel with a classic sounding Paul Quinn-styled intro before lurching into full doom mode again.
The short instrumental jam of ‘Deadly Confusion’ is a strange fit to the rest of the album but definitely one to keep the stoners happy if nothing else.
There are obvious comparisons to be made to Sabbath, a bit of Maiden and Saxon and the odd slice of Prog influence too on ‘Final Sacrifice’. Indelöf’s vocals have a real choral quality to them, very similar to Papa Emeritus’s delivery, his lyrics run smoothly over the jagged riff landscape of Noctum’s music. This leads to the unavoidable comparison to Ghost and indeed the album fits comfortably into the Scandinavian occult package if only by association.
‘The Revisit’ changes the feeling to a Richie Blackmore prog/folk excursion before it descends into some more hefty doom riffery. The finale of ‘Azoth’ combines haunting atmospherics with a slightly more upbeat boogie riff before it all crashes into a mound of duelling guitars to bring a close to the album.
Noctum have certainly looked far and wide to bring together their inspirations. A lot of trad-orientated bands suffer from trying to emulate one band in particular, which usually results in some sort of tribute album. Noctum dip into classic rock and metal, a bit of doom, a bit of prog, some NWOBHM clout with a touch of the mysterious thanks to an occult styled atmosphere. On top of that, they certainly have their own style which is locked together in the loose horror story concept running through ‘Final Sacrifice’. All in all, it’s the vocals that make this a top class performance though.