Draw the shades and light the candles for Light of the Morning Star’s Nocta

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Gothic metal done right: not a single harpsichord for miles.

If Type O Negative relocated from Brooklyn into a rotting, moss-clad English cathedral and were fed a steady diet of black metal and occult books, they might have come up with something like Nocta – an album which creates a pervasively dark and shadowy atmosphere without ever sounding melancholy or moody, or without dragging out cheesy hallmarks of capital-G “Gothic” bands, i.e., harpsichord, synth violin, operatic arias and the like.

Low tunings, deep clean vocals, vast depths of reverb and a thick, dense production (complete with filthy grind bass) strip away the need for symphonic motherfuckery and instead toss the listener directly into endless waves of enveloping blackness. It’s not until the final track that you’ll hear anything resembling a major key, and even then, not for very long. Songs stride along at a comfortable mid-pace that allow each hit and each note to ring out for maximum malicious effect – no need to hurry through with blasts, nor dirge endlessly.

And hey if you’re in that rare mood for something other than powernoiseviolencecore, something with, dare I say, a hook, you’ll find it here. I freely admit I found myself humming the chorus to “Coffinwood” more than a few times in the last week and wishing it was October again. LotMS are adept at writing simple, accessible riff structures with boatloads of occult atmosphere that feel as though they’re capable of breaking into Dark Funeral-esque d-beat chaos, but consciously hold back so as not to dilute the evil-with-a-capital-E message. Check out “Black Throne Ascension” (at around 3:48) from their previous release for a perfect example:

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If there’s a downside to having a distinct sound, it’s that it can occasionally manifest a lack of variety. If you like what you hear in the title track posted at the top of the page, you’ll definitely find yourself enjoying the rest of the album. If it didn’t do much for you, the remaining 32 minutes might not change your mind. Much like a brewery that sells 10 varieties of beer that all have a similar taste between them, the songs on Nocta are slight variations of the same formula. It’s a good formula to be sure, but some listeners may find themselves wanting just a bit more variety as they creep through the cemetery mists.

That said, I highly recommend giving LotMS and Nocta a try. I feel they’re a unique band walking the razor’s edge of what we typically review here at the toilet: not fast or screechy enough to be full-on black metal, slow but not fuzzy enough to be stoner/doom, and not quite theatric enough to draw comparisons to Ghost. It seems more than enough to simply be what they are, which is damn good.

4 out of 5 Toilets Ov Hell

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Nocta drops March 3rd, 2017 via Iron Bonehead

 Stream more Light of the Morning Star on Bandcamp and check them out on Facebook

(images via Iron Bonehead)