Gift of Gods: Receive

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Gift of Gods: Receive
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Nocturno Culto's Gift of Gods: Receive
Black Metal, Doom Metal, Heavy Metal
Peaceville Records
October 28th, 2013
Release length: 25:28
Webpage
Nocturno Culto has been a rather busy individual in the Metal world lately. Between his involvement with Sarke, who released a new album this year, as well as Darkthrone‘s The Underground Resistance, he also whipped up a blackened Heavy Metal one-piece called Gift of Gods. Of course, this entity is signed to none other than Peaceville Records, which dropped his debut album Receive a few days before Halloween of this year. Surprisingly there hasn’t been much said about this album, or the four songs that compose the roughly twenty-five minute offering. Is this a negative sign, or is Receive a well crafted throwback to the sound of Black Metal’s first wave that needs no words?

Receive has a crisp audio quality, but it’s impossible to not pick up on the dark, slightly empty raw ambience the performances give off. As if performed in a dark studio with only the light of candles to go by, Nocturno Culto’s Gift of Gods delivers a slab of vintage Metal ideals with a modern finish. “Receive” has that dark, almost occult atmosphere at work throughout, aided by the rich guitar work and deep twanging bass, as well as the Doom Metal shift around the four minute mark, bludgeoning the listener with dismal riffs that counter the earlier upbeat performance. Sadly, there is some washout on the cymbals throughout the release, and it is on display here at times. In a way it’s like an extended introduction to “Looking for an Answer,” a truly infectious traditional Heavy Metal cut met with enthusiastic harsher vocals, and even some clean singing against simple hooks that will leave the chorus lingering in your head for days on end.

“Enlightning Strikes” carries some similar riffs, though shows clear second generation Black Metal foundations and influence. The thick guitar riffs have a slight chill thanks to the distortion that’s more blunt than it is sharp. The mid-tempo pace does give it a slight ritualistic vibe, which is carried by the mixture of harsher and near guttural vocal vocals throughout. The twang of the bass is a nice touch here as well, dramatically effective when the intensity increases. But around four minutes and forty seconds to fifty seconds, that instrument sounds absent briefly twice, as if Nocturno Culto had to stop for a moment, perhaps shaking his hand from a cramp, and then went right back in to soon, having to do it once more. Around the seven minute mark, there’s an extensive guitar solo that shows some middle-eastern traits, and, while impressive at first, it easily could have ended even before that, coming off a bit like padding after a couple spins.

“Last Solstice” does share a good deal in common with “Enlightened Strikes.” The track itself is a lot slower most of the time, but ushers back in a trudging blackened Doom Metal tempo about half way through, nicely fitting the kaw of ravens (or crows, not sure which honestly) at the start and end of the track. The rougher vocals here can even come off like a deeper, more intimidating Lemmy Kilmister, though also have the tendencies to be altered to come off more beastly than they really are. While that cold and grim Black Metal touch still exists, some riffs and bridges do show the Heavy Metal tendencies of Nocturno Culto for this project well enough to keep it from being a Darkthrone imitation.

Gift of Gods is a surprising side-project from Nocturno Culto, and Receive shows some promise if it becomes a continued experience. While the album is incredibly varied, using the Heavy Metal style rather loosely against a backdrop of classic and second generation Black Metal concepts he himself helped to write over the years in Darkthrone, as well as the ice cold grip of Doom Metal thrown in, it all manages to come together well enough to flow smoothly from start to finish. It’s as if being frozen, experiencing a hypothermic moment of euphoric bliss, then realizing there’s nothing left but rot and feed the buzzards. Between occult and ritualistic atmospheres, to downright inquisitive traditional Heavy Metal, Receive is an album worth checking out.

01. Enlightning Strikes – 8:50
02. Receive – 5:53
03. Looking for an Answer – 3:26
04. Last Solstice – 7:20
Initial Pressing Score: 8.5/10

Gift of Gods
Gift of Gods

Digital review copy of this release provided by Peaceville Records via Fresno Media.