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.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://noltemband.bandcamp.com/album/illusions-in-the-wake-atmospheric-black-metal

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/noltem

Transcending Obscurity, https://transcendingobscurity.aisamerch.com/

Noltem, Illusions In The Wake (Transcending Obscurity 2021)

Vallendusk, Heralds Of Strife (Northern Silence Productions 2021)

Jakarta melodic Black Metallers Vallendusk release their fourth full-length album, Heralds Of Strife.

Vallendusk has been around for ten years. They released an EP 2012 and since then have produced three full-length albums, most recently 2018’s Fortress of Primal Grace. There is a vibrant heavy music scene in Indonesia that exists but is not very well known globally because of geographical and other rigidities. If you are looking for a place to dive in, Heralds Of Strife is the perfect opportunity. The band is Rizky (vocals), Valendino Mithos (guitar), Danang Sugianto (guitar), and Derick Prawira (drums).

There are seven long tracks on the album, the shortest clocking in at over seven minutes. I like long songs (I might have mentioned that in this column a couple hundred times before) but of course it can’t just be lengthy – it also has to be good and engaging. You find that at every turn on this album.

The music is Black Metal in style, coursing along the melodic or atmospheric ranges. You hear this in the vocals and the percussion, as well as the up-tempo arrangements. There are slower passages, naturally, but you never forget this is metal music. One thing that is very different about Vallendusk for a Black Metal band are the narrative themes, which tend not to be particularly dark in tone. Going along with this perspective, the riffs and structures are a little lighter, too, than you might hear from other Black Metal bands.

My favorite songs are “Towards The Shimmering Dawn” and “The Sovereign.” Every song on the album is an epic in its conception and structure so you can pick one – any one – or listen all the way through. Either way the melody and the metal are there in an epic presentation. Recommended.

Heralds Of Strife is out now. The digital album is available at Bandcamp, and there is a link there for the limited edition CD from Northern Silence Productions (and a link below, too).

Links.

Bandcamp, https://vallenduskmusic.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Vallendusk/

Northern Silence Productions, https://store.northern-silence.de/en/northern-silence/cds/vallendusk-heralds-of-strife-digicd?number=NSP-15518

Vallendusk, Heralds Of Strife (Northern Silence Productions 2021)