NUMENOREAN are the latest in a recent trend of bands that identify as being post-metal, or in this case post-black metal. Musically the band is heavily influenced by the likes of ALCEST and WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM and their takes on metal can be more than the sum of its parts as artistic expression, a sentiment echoed by the fact that the band was founded as “an expression of discontent with existence”. The band’s debut record Home certainly feels high minded in its vision but can its contents justify the bands claims and its presentation?
Opener Home begins quietly, as seems popular these days in atmospheric black metal, taking a full minute to kick in. Varying between the quieter, in some places almost acoustic and the black metal segments the song does not really bring anything new to the genre but is a good example of it. Thirst initially seems to focus on the extreme side of the bands style, where the vocals are used almost as an instrument rather than to get any form of message across, even by metal standards. The final minute is a quieter fade out.
Shoreless seems to exist to fill the gap between the two halves of the record and while an enjoyable enough filler, its inclusion feels unwarranted. Devour continues in much the same vein as the earlier tracks, with a slightly upbeat first riff and backing vocals at points providing the only real change to a disappointingly predictable formula. The last two minutes of the song don’t actually contain music, an odd choice on a record with so few songs. By this point listeners know what to expect from Laid Down which flicks between NUMENOREAN’s two playing styles with only slight changes in tempo to differentiate it from the other tracks. If there is any music of quality on offer here it is overshadowed by the fact that the listener has just heard practically the same song for the fourth time, there simply isn’t enough character to each of the tracks to make any of them stand out or to hold their attention for forty minutes.
Both the statements and press present from the band as well as the artwork, of which the censored version has been used above, suggest that this band and their music is some sort of visionary masterpiece that justifies the imagery and statements they’ve used. It’s therefore disappointing that NUMENOREAN have not managed to provide something more interesting, instead repackaging an arguably generic take on the fast-becoming-stale genre that is atmospheric black metal by incorporating a handful of post-metal influences. A lot of the focus from this “project” seems to be on creating an artist vision, instead of writing interesting songs. The word pretentious is unfortunately the first that springs to mind.
Home is set for release on July 22nd via Season of Mist.
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