Noctem – “Exilium” (Art Gates Records)
Despite Spain being deep in economic recession, Noctem have returned with a fiery album that could set the Mediterranean ablaze! Playing blackened death since 2007, these guys no doubt have Behemoth in sight as an example of the success of extreme metal, and have stepped up to the plate accordingly. Beleth’s guttural vocals lead the rampage in fine Johan Hegg style as Exo’s par excellence guitar work dances around him like a matador to the bull – mercilessly shredding at times whilst at others conjuring some magnificent Spanish guitar influences especially in the solos and melodies. The quality of the riffs is definitely superior than before, so clearly a lot’ve of work has gone in here, and their imperialistic nihilism is reflected in the quality of songs like ‘Decrepit Human Kingdom’, ‘Halo of Repugnance’ and ‘The Adamantine Doors’. With the rhythm being relentless in its pummeling as well as precision, and haunting neo gothic choirs adding their decadent touch, the quality production gives Noctem their most respectable album to date, and moreover one to really win the masses over with!