Noltem, Illusions In The Wake (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Connecticut metal mystics Noltem release their first full-length album, Illusions In The Wake.

Noltem began in the early 2000s, releasing their first demo in 2005. It was ten years later that their inaugural EP emerged, Mannaz. And now in 2021, the first long-player. They clearly take their time with musical constructions and that care pays off because Illusions In The Wake is exceptional. The band is Max Johnson, John Kerr, and Shalin Shah. Guest soloists for the album include Zach Miller (Pyrithe), Jordan Guerette (Falls of Rauros), and Aaron Carey (Nechochwen).

The primary description of Noltem’s music is Atmospheric Black Metal, and that is not wrong but, as with any shorthand label, it misses the nuance. The compositional clarity and depth of these songs is hard to overstate. There are big, theatrical moments and gorgeous, quiet, acoustic passages. The range of expression is truly impressive.

Illusions In The Wake has five long tracks and one short transition piece. The first song is “Figment,” and in it you can see the future. Big metal riffs, coarse vocals, and complex constructions highlighted by elegant, simply moments. This track places you in Noltem’s world so you can be prepared for the rest of the music.

“Illusions in the Wake” displays a scope almost too large to take in, and then “Beneath the Dreaming Blue” shuffles in very understated, in a casual way that entirely changes the mood. When it drops the boom directly on your head the impact make you see stars. The space for personal imagination is enormous.

“Submerged” is a light, short bridge leading to the grand “Ruse” and the sweeping “On Shores of Glass.” That final song truly serves to inculcate the magnificence of the musical accomplishment of this album. This is a metal album, a metal album painted on a limitless canvas in the finest detail and with the deepest palette. Recommended.

Illusions In The Wake makes its full digital appearance on October 10th with physicals shipping a few days later through Transcending Obscurity.




Transcending Obscurity,

Noltem, Illusions In The Wake (Transcending Obscurity 2021)