Out of the ashes of the very short lived hardcore punk outfit Desîhra, twenty-five years ago, came German Avant-Garde Black Metallers Nocte Obducta who are back with their twelfth full length studio album “Irrlicht (Es schlägt dem Mond ein kaltes Herz),” or thirteenth if you count 2003’s EP “Stille-Das nagende Schweigen,” unlucky for some maybe, but not Nocte Obducta as “Irrlicht(Es schlägt dem Mond ein kaltes Herz)” makes a seriously impressive listen.
The album title, which translates vaguely as ‘Wisp (a cold heart beats the moon)’ is a seven track, fifty-two minute offering which encompasses, sound-wise, many aspects of all their past albums, not surprising given the constantly evolving line-up of the band over the last twenty-five years, the one constant being Marcel, the band’s mastermind.
As a result there has also been a constantly evolving sound, with sometimes even a slight Hardcore echo in the blackened riffing, albeit briefly, on this album, particularly in the opener and album single “Zurück im bizarren Theater,” before it takes a Blackened direction and becomes more bleakly Avant Garde, a track which was released at the end of September as an album teaser, but which actually doesn’t give much away in terms of what to expect, but you can’t sum an album up in one track, this album is very much a journey meandering around in the dark in a lot of respects. You never know what is going to pop up around the next corner but you will always be pleasantly surprised.
“Von Stürzen in Mondmeere” is dark and doomy to the point of being on the brink of funereal in it’s slow and crushingly atmospheric construct, with acerbic blackened guttural vocals and a haunting melody which becomes more prevalent as the track progresses.
“Rot und Grau” is a haunting builder, becoming more keyboard dominated, with a blackened drive which encompasses most of the track, dropping away a couple of times around the mid-point to something more haunting and sinister with a progressive rock style closer.
In contrast, the shorter duration “Der Greis und die Reiterin” has blackened driving riffs, again with a hardcore echo, softening to a more reflective stance towards the close.
On “Der alte Traum” you get a dark haunting meld of keyboards and Black driving riffs, which in very small parts reminded me of Enslaved, just for a few brief moments, especially where there is a progressive switch into a more Blackened drive.
“Bei den Ruinen” is hauntingly Black and Progressive with a deep acerbic vocal delivery and as a contrast, eerie keyboard work to the close.
Final track “Noch” is dark and bleak and haunting to open but expanding out into a track that has a haunting but uplifting atmosphere, the ebb and flow to this track is sublime, it’s both sinister and tantalising, bleak but uplifting and makes a wonderfully reflective and convoluted listen.
“Irrlicht(Es schlägt dem Mond ein kaltes Herz)” is out on Supreme Chaos Records on the 23rd October with the distribution via Cargo Records, a complex and fascinating listen which is also easy to get your mind around, despite the convoluted intricacies, not an album to pick favourite tracks from, it’s a great listen end to end.
Rating – 5/5