Nox Aurea

Ascending In Triumph

Written by: PP on 13/12/2010 04:02:09

I know I just came out of praising the Katra album as an excellent manifestation of female fronted gothic metal, but in general the rule of thumb in gothic metal tends to be that you belong to one of two camps within the genre: the female-fronted one, or the one that actually sounds good. The key reason for the difference is that metal was just not made to be sung with clean vocals, let alone delicate female ones, as it dissolves much of the power-effect metal has on its listener. Nox Aurea demonstrate that point nicely on their new album "Ascending In Triumph", showing that it's possible to be - at your very core - a gothic metal band without any of the negative stigma associated with the genre.

Why? because most of Nox Aurea's vocals are delivered through rumbling, thick, voluminous growls that encompasses their atmosphere in a whirlwind of sadness and despair. You see, Nox Aurea draw heavily from doom metal to their music, manifesting in slow, painful melodies that depict pure heart-wrenching distress through the usage of crushing, heavy layers of distorted guitar, effectively burying the listener underneath the load. They're not heavy like some death metal bands, per say, just the feeling of the music, the lingering mass above the listener, feels almost unbearable, which is brilliant really as it executes their purpose precisely the way it was intended. It creates a morbid, hopeless atmosphere that surrounds the entire atmosphere in a way that strongly reminds me of Saturnus, except Nox Aurea utilize even more saddened melodies than those guys. Yes, it is possible, in case you were wondering. There are also hints and references to a band like My Dying Bride, although in many places Nox Aurea accelerate their speed and fill the soundscape with far more elements than those guys ever do on their recordings.

Occasionally, soft, high-pitched female vocals do make an appearance, but they are in a minority role throughout the record, functioning more as a device of contrast than anything else. There's lots of melody (of the sad kind) in the guitars already, but when the cleans arrive, they add just that much power and depth to the growls that otherwise drive the record forward. I should add, that their growler is excellent by the way, not Åkerfeldt-great but pretty close nonetheless. This record's worthy of a listen for those alone. No wonder this record has almost unanimous acclaim from the critics.


Download: The Loss And Endeavour Of Divinity
For the fans of: Saturnus, My Dying Bride
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.07.2010
Napalm Records

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