April 26th, 2010
Release length: 56:08
The second the instrumental introduction track “Arousal At Nebuchadnezzar Fortress” kicks in, it immediately becomes obvious that Al-Namrood really incorporate their strong Saudi Arabia roots through the music, having an authentic Arabian feel to the music that many bands today simply can’t hold a candle to, including the atmospheric tones bands like Nile are most known for. This track really sets the tone to the album and gives off an opening worthy of a Hollywood film that starts out in a desert setting, but also has enough of a darkened atmosphere to really make the song sound as creepy as it is enchanting. The only complaint is that this track is very clear, coming off a bit rawer then what you would expect from a modern recording, but then “Junood Al Amjaad” kicks in and the track has plenty of white noise to accompany a stronger raw quality, and the music even feels a little more muffled, leading to a dynamic difference between the two qualities.
But, the quality of the songs on Estorat Taghoot does make up for it well. The Arabian sound of the band’s geographical roots plays a huge part in this track, as well as plenty of other songs, running with that established Arabian feeling that “Arousal At Nebuchadnezzar Fortress” greets the listener with. The guitar work is fantastic in this sense, though the bass doesn’t seem too present in the recording unless you really blast the recording or can amplify it greatly, but this only feeds into the static and white noise of the lesser production quality of the music. The distortion on the guitars, however, are pretty strong and set up a decent deeper tone that you can tell does have some impact from the bass, but not enough that it becomes distinguishable in the mix without the aforementioned physical alterations from the output devices. The guitar solos even carry that same Arabian atmosphere that has been going on since the start of the album, which really makes this song sound complete, as well as a truly authentic experience from this country.
The drumming is also done well on the recording. For the most part it’s constant machine-gun blast beats, but the snares and cymbols are executed well with plenty of unique patterns to them that it helps to really make the songs that much more interesting and intriguing, especially when the songs utilize keyboards to create a truly epic experience, such as with the title track “Estorat Taghoot”, which just leaves the listener’s jaw on the ground from the stunning Arabian atmospheric presence layered atop the sinister, evil sound the band presents with an overall over-the-top sound that would be enough to have the listener fall to their knees in shock. On top of that, these songs can really just build up and become as catchy as they are intense thanks to the more ritualistic approach the music can take while still catering to the regional atmosphere. Again, the title track “Estorat Taghoot” comes into play, and from the very start it just builds on itself with intensity, and at the very end you’ll wind up enchanted by the ritual-vibe of the music and traditional rhaspy Black Metal vocal approach utilized in a more ritualistic performance that you’ll start banging your head along to the music whether you want to or not, as if you were possessed by the music the band performs, or even the slight catchier groove some tracks, like the following “Ma Kan Mn AlDahr Mundthera” can produce.
But, aside all that, one of the most important aspects to this recording becomes the vocals. This is where the other half of the band’s power really comes from, as they are pushed a bit further back in the mix. Much like other atmospheric Black Metal acts such as Mortualia, the vocals are clearly human in performance, but come off more inhuman in sound, and at the same time are commanding, all the while feeling like some kind of evil wind or perhaps even a sadistic dog-like spirit barking orders at you. Luckily, when the vocals are not present, it does not hurt the album and leave it feeling less then complete. There are plenty of instrumental tracks, or just longer passages of music at times without vocals, and those tracks such as “Arousal At Nebuchadnezzar Fortress” and “Ma’dabt Al Audhama” really play up the band’s musical heritage well while creating a simply stunning dark and evil presence. The latter of the two is perhaps one of the most astounding tracks off the entire release as it is, really having a darker sould crushing environment to it, leaving you to picture the types of evil spirits from the band’s native land and even how they would react to the accomodating sinister spiritual music of the song. You also have “Laylat Ghabra’s” which isn’t an instrumental, but it just holds that same evil, sinister atmospheric trait that “Ma’dabt Al Audhama” has, as well as features a more dynamic vocal performance as well. On top of the aforementioned rhaspier vocals, there are times where they can go a bit guttural, and on this song, that range is explored, and even pushed further against the chaotic backdrop of pounding music and non-stop blistering drumming. Of course this is one of the shorter tracks and the blistering non-stop approach works without it getting too old or stale quickly. The longer tracks though, like with “Estorat Taghoot” and “Asda’ Al Dmar”, all manage to have enough changes in the song and unique elements that flow smoothly from start to finish that grab the listener and keep him or her tense and at the edge of their seat the entire time between pounding music, epic passages, and generally sinister Black Metal that offers some catchier moments, as well as punishing atmospheres throughout.
Estorat Taghoot is an album that is impossible to sit down and say anything negative about, or to even begin to sum up what’s good about it. This is easily one of the most intriguing Black Metal efforts to come out in quite some time. Not only does it have that authentic Saudi Arabia atmosphere through the genuine Arabian sounding guitars and additional keyboards that make the atmosphere simply mouth watering and break the album free from traditional Black Metal recordings, but the music itself takes that and molds it into a dark, sometimes majestic and enchanting brutal ride through this musical style that feels like it just never stops lunging straight for the juggular. All the things that make a more modern Black Metal effort great happen to be here while lacing together ideas from the second wave of Black Metal and Atmospheric versions as well. If you have yet to hear of Al-Namrood, then you simply need to give this act a chance. There’s a reason why this album has been receiving such positive feedback, and if you’re a respectable fan of Black Metal, you owe it to yourself, as well as this band who clearly put a good deal of work into this effort, to pick up Estorat Taghoot as soon as you possibly can. You will not regret it, even after the multiple repeat spins.
01. Arousal at Nebuchadnezzar Fortress – 4:38
02. Junood Al Amjaad – 4:28
03. Estorat Taghoot – 6:06
04. Ma Kan Mn AlDahr Mundthera – 5:49
05. Endma Tuqsaf Al Ru’os – 6:14
06. Ma’dabt Al Audhama – 5:00
07. Fe Youm Thaqeef – 3:08
08. Wata’a Bakhtanasar – 5:22
09. Laylat Ghabra’a – 3:50
10. Asda’ Al Dmar – 7:32
11. AQjal Babel – 4:04
|Overall Score: 10/10
Physical review copy of this release provided by Shaytan Productions.