None More Post-Black: Numenorean’s Home, Reviewed

Post-black. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more divisive term in the metal underground over the last few years. While it was pioneered as far back as 2005 by Alcest, it came to the forefront of metal with Deafheaven’s critically revered darling Sunbather. In the post-Deafheaven world (we’re so far post everything, guys) post-black bands are commonplace, but few have tried to combine their shoegazing tendencies with a little controversy befitting black metal’s second wave. Enter Numenorean.

Upon visiting their Facebook page or Bandcamp, you will be greeted by the striking cover to their debut, Home. Adorning it is the body of 2 year old Kristen MacDonald, brutally murdered by her father with a knife and an icepick. It took me a minute to full realize what I was looking at when I first saw it, perhaps because I thought an image of a slain child was too taboo even for a genre that routinely features death and dismemberment on its album covers. The band has stated that the album cover is meant to represent the death of innocence and that art should not be something that is easily digestible. How you or I feel about this selection of cover is for another piece entirely, but the art appears to be a central part of the theme and sets a very somber tone for the music held within.

For the most part the music holds up its end of the bargain. The album opens with the genre’s trademark beautiful and ethereal clean guitars before soaring into a joyless storm of tremolo picking, drowning in the pained howls of the track (provided by an astounding 4 of 5 band members). The song bobs and weaves like Ali in his prime, swelling and bursting into fits of agonized rage before subsiding and washing over you in reverb drenched solemnity. This back and forth is a constant on the album and more or less a necessity given that that only track under 7 minutes is the instrumental breather “Shoreless” placed dead center on the album. These extended track lengths don’t prove to be much of an issue though as the album still runs a relatively brisk 43 minutes and the songs change things up enough that they never feel like an endless parade of repetitious passages.

The theme of the loss of innocence plays a major role with every song acting as a different phase of life. With a tracklisting of “Home,” “Thirst,” “Shoreless,” “Devour,” and “Laid Down” it’s pretty easy to get a sense of which phase each is and the amount of despair held within. Each song plays to its theme as well, with towering closer “Laid Down” standing out above the rest. It offers a sense of fury, sorrow, and long awaited relief once it’s all said and done that is virtually unparalleled on the rest of the album. It’s a song truly befitting of the concept of being laid to rest and finally coming home (Hey, that’s the album title!).

The comparisons to Deafheaven are an inevitability. They are, after all, the most visible post black band and were the ones that launched it into the public consciousness. Regardless of how you feel about them, they are the measuring stick by which all other post-black bands will be tested, and Numenorean do a pretty good job stacking up. They don’t go to the extreme on the prettier, shoegazier moments and instead opt for a more restrained approach and do the same by not offering the same overly upbeat melodies that Deafheaven are known for. This is a band that leans a little closer to the black metal side than the post metal side, in both sound and aesthetic, and it works more often than it doesn’t. Home is a very solid debut from this Calagary quintet. If you find yourself opposed to anything with the tag “blackgaze” then this won’t be the record that brings you on board, but if you can get down with sparkly guitars and major key melody then this is an album to hear and a band to watch.

3.5/5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell


Numenorean’s Home is available now via Season of Mist. You can purchase it directly from the band here and go give them a like on Facebook here.

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Published on: July 29, 2016

Filled Under: Metal, Reviews

Views: 796

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  • Good review! Convinced me to check out an album I might have skipped otherwise. Surprised at the lack of Woods of Ypres references tho 😛

    • Leif Bearikson

      Woods never even crossed my mind hah

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Everything is post-something. Great review, bear!

    • Dubbbz

      I fully support a post-robit blog.

      • post-post

        • Dubbbz

          Post power metal.

          • I’d try it once

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Post tech death.

          • GAH!

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            It’s a matter of time before it exists.

        • PostBlackenedWhaleGaze

          Post Post-Metal Post-Music which is post-of-what-we-deem-our-reality-to-be industrial metal

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Post-post-flush (when you’ve shit, flushed, then shit again)

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I agree. This album is very good. The vocals sound like the singer is in immense pain. The only thing I hate is the album cover because I can’t even look at it without wanting to vomit.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        I can also do without pictures of dead kids on albums.

    • RustyShackleford

      I once asked my film professor what type of film we were watching during our screening and he replied “it’s sort of post-war cinema,” to which I responded “uh…which war? and which country?” and we lol’d at genre stuffs because we’re embarrassingly academic.

    • The Tetrachord of Archytas

      Hell, once you make it to post-man you start delivering everyone’s records for them instead of reviewing them…

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    That album cover is horrifying. I’ll give the music a listen though as I love Sunbather.

  • I dig this. Thanks for the writeup mister bear!



  • Dubbbz

    Leif and I were discussing that album art over dinner, and I think it itself warrants a lot more discussion. Solid article here.

    • It’s abrasive, horrifying, and uncomfortable. I like that

      • The band was very clear with what they intended the art to symbolize. The question I have is if beyond the artistic intent, can it still be considered exploitative to use that imagery to sell records or otherwise promote your band.

        • Old Man Doom

          That’s my concern too. Well stated.

        • Wanna talk about it Sunday?

        • RJA

          Very well put – I mean, I get that there is an artistic statement being made but there is also a dead child on the cover of your album?! I’m certainly not against it but I don’t think I’m on board.

          • Dubbbz

            Does it go as far to pure exploitation as Pissgrave’s cover, though? That was gore purely for the sake of the sale.

          • RJA

            Yea, that’s a good discussion to have. I think of all the things you could say about one versus the other – the fact that it’s basically a portrait of dead child makes it a little harder to stomach. I’m certainly not outraged but it does seem in poor taste regardless of the artistic statement (yea I know, it’s METAL!)
            You’re right though, there wasn’t much of an artistic statement (at least as far as I see it) in the Pissgrave cover.

          • sweetooth0

            bodies half way to being sludge in filthy bathrooms is the Pissgrave aesthetic though! It wouldn’t be Pissgrave without it. That inside cover for Suicide Euphoria, “is it soup yet?”

          • Dubbbz

            I definitely get that. I think it falls into the same realm as slasher films. The gory exploitation is the product its selling, rather than making an artistic statement.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        The use of it as an artistic statement makes sense, and that’s fine, but it veers too close to gore and shock imagery for my tastes.

    • RustyShackleford

      I’m not down with it, but reading the decibel article makes it clear they put a lot of thought into it and it’s not the worst reasoning I’ve ever heard. I think it depends on whether you consider it “art” or promo material. I’m sort of leaning towards the latter, so that makes me feel like it’s rather exploitive. However, when taken as a piece of art and in context with the music, it is rather effective, particularly given how they framed their intentions.

    • Ted Nü-Djent ™

      This is probably where I draw the line with supporting an artist (at least this album anyway). Imagine you become a parent and something god awful happened to your child and then some band put their corpse on an album cover and said “it’s art, it represents the death of innocence”.

      • Elegant Gazing Globe

        right there with ya uncle ted

      • Being a parent, you see things like that and you think of your children. Then you not only think about how awful what happened to the child is, but you also think of how much pain the loved ones are feeling and hope you never have to experience anything bad happen to your own children. Just crushing and devestating all around.

    • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

      Guess I’m the only one rather indifferent towards that art.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        As a bear, all flesh (and sometimes garbage) is potential food to you.

    • The Tetrachord of Archytas

      I don’t I object to the cover in any way and I respect the thoughtfulness on the bands part. I think that when you make an abrasive but also well thought out cover like that it changes the message of the music into something very specific, which means it’s effectiveness is more likely to be hit or miss for listeners.

  • Ted Nü-Djent ™

    It’s a dead fucking kid. Fuck that cover. Parenthood has made me weak

    • Dubbbz

      I think this reaction is entirely warranted/understandable.

      • Ted Nü-Djent ™

        I’m reading up on what happened to this girl and her family now when I decided it’s late and I should really go to bed

    • Farts In A Maggot Factory

      I’m with ya on that one, and I’m not even a parent. There’s a point where it goes beyond trying to be Master Edgelord, and goes right into “what the fuck is wrong with you?!?!?”.

      • Mildredmcraft1

        <<o. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::::!!bt320p:….,

      • Denisejheck1

        <<o. ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★:::::::!!bt875p:….,

  • nbm02ss

    Album art makes me uncomfortable, but I kind of appreciate it for that. That said, I’m also not a parent.

    At least they have the sense (so far) not to put it on a shirt.

  • Waynecro

    I’ve listened to this album a few times at work, and I think it’s pretty good. I like to listen to music with a lot of melody when I’m not in the gym. I don’t mind the album cover, but as others have mentioned, putting that image on shirts and stickers and stuff would be in bad taste.

  • Farts In A Maggot Factory

    GAH, that artwork! This is where I definitely draw the line, which takes A LOT. Fuck them, fuck their music, and definitely a fuck you to their gored up “Virgin Killer” album cover.

    • Waynecro

      Maybe the band was concerned that a photograph of a cooler full of fetal bits from Planned Parenthood wouldn’t have the same impact.

      • Farts In A Maggot Factory

        Another reason to be thankful that the crime scene photos from the Newtown massacre never got released (even after Michael Moore yammering on and on about getting them out there). Otherwise these idiots would’ve used that instead, and argued left and right with the families about how it’s all artsy and shit.

        • Waynecro

          Seeing a dead kid doesn’t bother me, but it does suck for the family and friends of said dead kid.

          • Farts In A Maggot Factory

            Anywhooooooooo, on to the next article. Scrapping this one from memory while my day is still going good.

          • Maik Beninton™

            I also feel rather indifferent for that cover. It’s kinda relatable too, last month a ten year old kid was killed by the cops after stealing a car and allegedly firing at them on Rio (or São Paulo, I don’t remember very well).

  • Leif Bearikson

    I am definitely not fan of the cover and was pretty shocked to see it. I thought what I had used it the header image was the cover (since it was what was plastered everywhere) until I actually got to listen to it the first time. I think the band had a very well thought out and reasonable explanation in the Decibel interview, but at the same time you you don’t just use a dead child on the cover without some intention of stirring up controversy. I personally think the album is deserving of something better than this and that the message could have been conveyed as well with something else on the cover.

    I’ll give them this though, it’s attention grabbing and got people talking, so I’d say it’s a pretty successful cover in that regard.

  • Joaquin Stick

    Late to the party but I like this a whole bunches of Funches. Thanks snowbear.

  • pfk505

    I saw this band live about a month ago.. they were decent. Their demo a few years back took a bit of a different tack. The cover is retarded – no matter how much thought they put into it they apparently didn’t realize it couldn’t possibly come off as anything other than edgy and attention seeking.