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NOKTURNAL MORTUM - Goat Horns cover
3.78 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1997


1. Black Moon Overture (4:48)
2. Kuyaviya (7:04)
3. Goat Horns (9:07)
4. Unholy Orathania (8:09)
5. Veles' Scrols (11:48)
6. Kolyada (7:10)
7. Eternal Circle (3:52)

Total Time: 51:45


- Knjaz Varggoth / vocals, guitars, bass
- Saturious / keyboards, folk instruments
- Karpath / guitars
- Sataroth / keyboards
- Munruthel / drums
- Xaarquath / bass

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siLLy puPPy
Nokturnal Mortem is really a hit and miss band with me. I guess i'm in the minority when I say that I really dislike this album in comparison to LUNAR POETRY, the previous one. Everything that made the last album perfect has been messed with leaving this album seem unbalanced and overstretched.

The first thing I find overweening is the WAY too long intro, if you wanna call it an intro. What made the previous album work so well was how NM started each song with a beautiful folk melody and built upon it slowly until it was full on symphonic metal fury with no part overstaying its welcome. With this album they obviously thought more of everything was better. Well, I think it collapses under the weight of all the loftiness piled onto too little of an anchoring support. Several songs like this and then the outro goes into some strange musical journey that is totally incongruous with the album!

I can't say I hate this album. I do find parts of it are enjoyable, but listening to it makes me wonder why the repetitiveness warranted such lengthiness and it only makes me wanna go back and listen to LUNAR POETRY again, because on that album the ideas they present here actually worked. I must say though that I do give a thumbs up to the band for experimenting and not stagnating on the success of any particular sound.
I'm honestly surprised that Nokturnal Mortum's Goat Horns gets the praise it does, because whilst at points its symphonic black metal approach can be pretty exciting, there's also some severe flaws with the album.

First off, you have nearly 9 minutes of the album's running time being eaten up by Black Moon Overture and Eternal Circle, the classical keyboard pieces which bookend it. Now, I'm not necessarily averse to black metal albums setting aside a large amount of their running time for electronic experiments - I love Burzum's Filosofem, for instance - but this cheesy nonsense just isn't of the level of quality necessary to win me over. Black Moon Overture is positively infuriating because it's presented as an intro piece but it's nearly 5 minutes long, which is about five times too much intro for me - I just want to yell at the album "Get to the point!"

As for the songs themselves, well, essentially Nokturnal Mortum take the early Dimmi Borgir compositional approach - complete with occasional use of acoustic instruments and plentiful keyboards. I guess the best thing I can say about this album is that it at least doesn't resort to the sort of overt Jew-baiting material the band would bring in from NeChrist onwards, and that there's points where the mashup of black metal and keyboards get genuinely interesting. However, it's too weighed down by lazy cliche and imitation of its betters to really convince me, and for most of the running time the keyboards are just in the way.

This is most evident on the mix of the title track, in which the keyboards - despite playing more or less constantly during the track - are more or less drowned out by the conventional metal instrumentation. And Goat Horns is the best song on the album (despite being overlong and labouring too many of its points) as a consequence of this; the fact is that the keyboard lines are the most cheesy and cliched aspects of the album, whilst the guitar work is the best. When you can take out a whole instrument from the mix and improve your album considerably, you know that something is deeply wrong.

Members reviews

I first read an interview of this Ukrainian band in a magazine and thinking, "Wow, these guys look cool." So with that, I went out a checked out what was to be their best album, Goat Horns. And wow, this album is unbeliveable. The band has a thing with using A LOT of keyboards throughout their songs. The production is well done with alot of bass drum giving the album a kind of "techno" feel to it, but with all the other instruments in the works it doesn't come out like that by far. The guitars are barely heard, but enough to know that they are there and the bass drum pounds over everything while the keyboards are constantly giving symphonic lines that are no less than amazing. The other thing I love on this album (besides the keyboards) is Varggoth's rasp. Instead of having the rasp be really clear, they have mixed it so it has been drowned in all the other insturments so it sounds muddy. This puts an awesome feel on the record. The drumming is impressive as well. Munruthel works with some pretty complex music and instead of going with a strait drum beat, he mixes things up and has some pretty impressive chops, working with ride, snare, bass drum combinations effectively.

They start out the cd with "Black Moon Overture," which is one of the best ambient keyboard songs I have ever heard and continue to use those keyboard lines in the songs on the rest of the album. They follow up the beautiful "Black Moon Overture" with "Kuyabiya" which is a perfect example of what you are actually going to get into while listening to this album. The third song "Goat Horns" starts off with a nice clean guitar with howling winds and bells in the background, progesses to a march and then blasts your senses with a fast pounding song that shows a Ukrainian feel with the keyboards. "Unholy Orathania" follows up this Ukrainian feel, giving an intro that shows that these guys really like to tie in their culture with their music and it makes the album that much better. "Veles Scrolls" is an 11:46 minute song that has Varggoth's muddy rasp intertwined with harps and blazing drums. "Kolyada" slows things down and with a rock drum beat it lets the keyboards and the guitars explore a little. The Ukrainian feel comes out alot in this song as well, while Varggoth belts out vocals. This song also has some clean vocals in the works, which surprised me, but it adds a great feel to the song. They close out the album with another ambient song called "Eternal Circle". The sound of howling winds, chimed keyboards with symphonic pieces makes this song have a bittersweet aura to it. A great way to close the album.

I can't say enough good things about this record. It still dominates my cd player, even with new cd purchases. Do yourself a favor and get ahold of this record. You definitely won't regret it.

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