Review 2226 : Nocturnus AD – Unicursal – English

Another surprise from Nocturnus AD.

Formed by Mike Browning (drums/vocals, ex-Acheron, ex-Morbid Angel) after his departure from Nocturnus, the band also enjoyed a period of over ten years under the name After Death.

In 2024, it is alongside Demian Heftel (guitar), Belial Koblak (guitar, Lethal Prayer, Goatrot, ex-Acheron), Josh Holdren (keyboards, Fecalith) and Kyle Sokol (bass, Apeiron Bound) that the founder unveiled Unicursal, his second album, on Profound Lore Records.

Bass parts were recorded by Daniel Tucker (ex-Obituary) before he left the band.

With its short introduction, the band quickly lays the foundations of its cosmic-sounding Technical Death, even taking advantage of a transcendent solo to lead us into The Ascension Throne of Osiris and deploy its unique touch. The jerky vocal parts seem a little effete in comparison with the majestic rhythm and its cutting complexity, but the track also has more ethereal passages in store, such as the final leading into CephaloGod, where we are greeted by an oppressive sound followed by growls. The riffs return to develop their heady disquieting atmosphere to stick with the beginning of the composition, then the musicians venture between tribal percussion on Mesolithic, a long composition that allows them to weave obvious links with Progressive Metal and its unexpectedly convoluted changes. Space beckons again on Organism 46B, which follows with an icy breeze and the band’s usual soaring cosmic approach, adding heavy effects to their riffs or speeding them up without warning, before Mission Malkuth brings us hypnotic crystalline tones before striking again. The frantic approach suits the band’s style well, as do the intricate, dissonant patterns that at times become intriguing, before giving way to Yesod, The Dark Side of The Moon, where the opening moments perfectly illustrate celestial contemplation through a porthole. The rest of the track is more conducive to frenetic headbanging to the sound of the shifting rhythmic pattern, before a similar but more imposing approach is adopted on Hod, The Stellar Light, with a break that takes us out of this race to violence and back into meditation before getting excited again. The album draws to a close with Netzach, The Fire of Victory, where the usual elements come together in an as natural as strange way, offering extremely slow and suffocating passages before resuming its normal pace, then vocals disappear to make way for the outro, where noisy sounds come to haunt a catchy rhythm.

Unicursal forces us to conclude that Nocturnus AD is heading in an intriguing direction. While the elements that made their reputation – cosmic keyboards and strange complex parts – are still present, we sense that the band is moving towards influences as yet unexplored by their shuttle. The result, however, remains very coherent and will easily find its audience. 


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