(Nathan Ferreira introduces our premiere of a track off the new album by Denver-based Noctambulist, which will be released by Willowtip Records on July 2nd.)
It’s difficult to stand out in any style of music, but that challenge is heightened for The Barren Form – first impressions of it will bring to mind the claustrophobic fretwork of Portal distilled into the blistering intensity of Hate Eternal. Such overstimulating qualities don’t tend to leave a lot of room for dynamics, and on top of that, Noctambulist like to write slabs of 6+ minutes of chaotic cacophony. The few moments you do get to breathe are barely able to be savored before a song powers into another turbulent assault, highlighted by the mind-boggling speed and stamina of drummer Michael Nolan.
The musicianship on The Barren Form is top-notch, as is expected from a Willowtip Records release, but what is striking about Noctambulist is how much emotion they can inject into a suffocating, abstruse template. A couple of staccato chops at the right time hammers the riffs in deep, and the guitars themselves don’t tend to noodle around the fretboard a lot – either that or it’s muffled amidst the discordance. What then emerges are jagged, unsettling chords that simultaneously release tension as it’s built.
Where contemporaries in this realm of death metal might focus more on snaking subtleties and enhancing the overall creepiness and confusion, Noctambulist are fast, heavy, and fucking loud. It feels like everything is just coming at you all at once, with a roomy, modern production job giving proper balance so no one element is neglected.