NOCTAMBULIST - The Barren Form

September 15, 2021, a month ago


Greg Pratt

Rating: 9.0

review black death noctambulist

NOCTAMBULIST - The Barren Form

I absolutely loved this Denver-based band's Atmospheres Of Desolation debut from 2019, and now they're back, making the switch up from cool indie Blood Harvest to respected Willowtip for their second dose of twisted grinding death. The debut made me reference bands like Immolation, Gorguts, and Pyrrhon, all very good company to keep; on these six songs, the band continue their deep dive into the caves of death metal, although I'm hearing way more big-city clatter und clang here than I am stalactite-crushing, sort of the inverse of last time around, even if all the points of reference remain the same. 

The band really let it all sprawl out on massive album centrepiece “Infinitesimal”, which takes its 11:23 and uses it well, Noctambulist going spelunking, splashing through the underground in slow-motion. “Engulfed” grinds at warp speed but then takes things down to an atmospheric sludge that evokes images of wandering around a decaying metropolis in the middle of the night; when the drumming gets to blasting but the riffs remain slow, it's a masterful songwriting moment here. 

Every one of these songs sort of blurs into the next, in a good way; by the time you get to amazing, atmospheric, grinding closer “Dissolution”, man, you're just disoriented, trying to figure out exactly what has just happened, Noctambulist totally pulling it off again, this clashing and bashing of sounds that should not be, this pocket of extreme music that they preside over ringing in your ears long after this fantastic album has come to a close.

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