Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Noctis - Demo '98 - Out of the Shadow Of Legend

Noctis was a French melodic black metal band active in the 90's. They released two demos, first one titled Glorious Times and released in '97, and the second demo was titled Demo '98 - Out of the Shadow of Legend. In 2001 Out of the Shadow of Legend best of/compilation was released, and it compiles both demos.

First demo was self-released as a cassette limited to 200 hand-numbered copies. Second demo, this one, was released by Aura Mystique Productions as a tape limited to 300 hand-numbered copies. Out of the Shadow of Legend compilation was released as a CD by Adipocere Records.

Noctis members were also involved in another great French obscurity - Enimon Ni, and this band only ever released one excellent demo titled Blasphemes Chapitre Premier - Sombres Presages. This demo was also released as a tape by Aura Mystique, just like the demo I'm posting.

I bought this tape from the same person I bought Machiavel demo from, the person behind Funebre Inferi. It's a white tape (well, it's beige now, because it's very old; or maybe the tape was originally beige - I don't know) with stickers on both sides, and it comes with xerox layout printed on one side, hand-numbered on the other side. If you're interested in ordering a copy of this demo tape, people are still selling it on Discogs. Just be careful not to buy a dub of it as one person is selling the dub instead of the original.

Noctis style can be described as very interesting melodic black metal.
First song on this demo titled On the Ruins of Ancient Beliefs is a short intro played on keyboards and is a very good piece of instrumental music, and if it was the first song I ever heard from Noctis, I'd already know this will be a good demo.
The second song lasts for almost 5 minutes and is, in my opinion, excellent. It's titled And Gods Servants Created Hell on Earth, its main characteristics are great guitar riffs and atmospheric synths in the background exactly on right places. This song is very well composed and interesting to listen to, there is a short acoustic part in the middle of the song which is followed by guitar riffs that remind me of viking black metal.
The third song titled Beyond Misty Horizons of Time is even more in viking style, the melodies are very catchy and I can hear clean male voice singing along with the main melody in my head which is typical for most viking black, even though it isn't there and the vocals are still in pure black metal style. I have to mention the second part of this song, which is slow and different from the rest of it, and oh so beautiful! The song structures Noctis made is just so briliant! And yes, finally, here's the man singing the main melodies in viking style just as I've expected, this is exactly what this song was missing!
The next song titled Those Who Rot in the Shadows is the longest song on the demo - it lasts over 7 minutes. It's slow to mid tempo black with epic sound which progresses to melodic fast paced black metal with very nice guitar and bass lines, and excellent keyboards that follow it all appropriately. After the first 4 minutes of this song comes my favorite part of the album - melodic black metal gets replaced by nostalgic sounding keyboards which soon gets replaced by acoustic viking folk part which then progresses to true vikingness! Oh this is so damn good, I just can't get enough of it - I won't even waste words trying to describe it, perfection can't be put to words, that's why art and music as part of art exists, to express the beauty and feelings. Well, yeah I know there's poetry but I'm not a poet :)
Finally, the last song is a very short outro - ambient wind-sounds mixed with acoustic guitar which complete the album perfectly.

This is one of the best demos I've heard. The way it's all structured and composed is so impressive to me, everything is exactly the way it should be. This kind of stuff is why I love melodic black metal way more than I love raw black or orthodox black.

I mean, black metal genre isn't just music in which one can express darkness and lust, or one's admiration of different things such as Devil-worship, mythology, national patriotic pride and nostalgia for the pagan/heathen times, or Tolkien's Middle Earth worship. Black metal can be and often is very musically and artistically complex, and I don't mean technical complexity by it; I mean how sometimes in black metal you can find such musical artistic talent, such amazing things expressed in unique ways which even make classical music seem boring and uninteresting. That is exactly what I love black metal, and why I prefer different types and subgenres of melodic black metal over the orthodox black or raw Satanic black.

Back to the subject, this Noctis demo reminds me of old Himinbjorg. Himinbjorg was actually one of the very first bands I've discovered in my life and fell in love with. Where Ravens Fly is one of my all time favorite albums!

For the end of this review, all I can say is listen to this demo and the first one as well, or the '01 compilation. Noctis is an amazing band.

                       Download my tape rip (mp3@CBR320kbps + pics and scans) @ yadi.sk

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