Album Title: 
Embraced By Eternal Night
Release Date: 
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Review Type: 

Severomorsk is a city in the far North of the European part of the Russian Federation, on the Kola peninsula, and quite close to the not-that-unknown city of Murmansk. It’s also home to Nordlumo, a joyful outfit of a guy called Nordmad, who started this project quite recently. Evgenyi (real name of Nordmad) wrote, recorded and released six lengthy tracks (the total running time clocks about seventy-seven minutes) in very early 2016 via his own digital channels. Then Endless Winter, one of the most interesting Doom labels from Russia, showed up, and this label decided to have that material released on compact disc too. The beautiful (!) cover artwork is based on the original one, just slightly improved, and the album comes with a four-page booklet, which contains some of the lyrics (in English). Oh yes, pay attention, for this re-release is limited to an edition of 300 copies – and I have mine already…

What Nordlumo bring has nothing renewing or original at all. this is not a negative aspect, believe, because of the quality – see further. About the lack of originality I will not spend any time or energy, for it isn’t but an otiose waste of time to go deeper into that matter. F*ck originality, hail to quality!

…and this brings me quite easily to the essence of Nordlumo’s debut Embraced By Eternal Night. Opener The Autumn Fall immediately shows the greatness of this album. It starts with a melancholic keyboard introduction, soon joined by typifying yet perfectly handled instrumentation: a truly monumental rhythm string section (bass and guitars), melodious leading guitar parts, slowly pounding yet intense drum patterns and the melancholic sound of synths at the background. Slowly and repetitive, this heaviness crawls further, weaving an impenetrable web of inertia and tardiness. Besides, the excellent sound quality empowers this massiveness. The production is simply top-notch, full and perfectly mixed, and all individual instruments are equal in presence and audibility. Great instrumental hymn to start this album with!

As from Devotion on, the second track (which lasts for 23:40 minutes), we get really started! Shooting off with floating keyboards, those hammering drums and a truly fine bass line, we get soon immersed by another not-original-at-all but simply fabulous heavier passage, defining melancholy, grief, anger, pain and despair in a sonic way. Here’s where the vocals join too for the first time. And indeed, even the ultra-deep growling grunt of Nordmad seamlessly fits to this Aural Art. Divided over the whole album, the vocals are rather infrequently presented, but when proposed, it’s a true ‘pleasure’ to ‘enjoy’ (‘pleasure’ and ‘enjoy’ in such review; it’s almost a cynical statement). In a piece like Scripts you might also uncover some whispered spoken words, by the way (performed by Mari Khokhlova, who wrote the lyrics for Dreamwalker too, which includes two short passages with a ‘clean’ voice – Ivan). Other ingredients, not uncommon but, once again, performed flawlessly, are, for example, xylophone-alike synth passages, or acoustic and semi-acoustic guitars; you know what to expect, don’t you. Devotion and all other hymns are divided into organically cohesive chapters, tied by different intermezzi of acoustic or synth-based passages (of ambient, funereal or gloomy nature), by piano, or via compelling twin leads and solos. The guitar leads, multi-layered, are for sure the main structure of this album, undeniably meticulously supported by the aforementioned rhythm instrumentation (keyboards, rhythm guitars, bass guitars and drums / cymbals).

Worth mentioning, evidently, is the track Weathered, which is a cover by (sadly defunct) Colosseum, taken from their debut full length, Chapter I: Delirium. It is an extremely faithful reinterpretation of that song, reminding me a lot of the original one, and at least as spectacular in performance. Cool! (cool as in ‘great’ or ‘well -done’, as in ‘freezing’, ‘icy’, ‘Arctic’…)…

For fans of Colosseum, Abysmal Growls Of Despair, My Shameful, Shape Of Despair, Monolithe, Grimirg, Evoken and the likes…