Nox Aurea: Ascending in Triumph

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Nox Aurea: Ascending in Triumph
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Nox Aurea: Ascending in Triumph
Death Metal, Melodic Doom Metal
Napalm Records
June 30th, 2010
Release length: 1:02:35
Myspace
Nox Aurea is Death and Doom Metal band that formed back in 2005 in Gothenburg, Sweden. For those unaware of this band up to this point, that is more then likely enough to capture their interest. This band, however, isn’t just a straight forward band that lives in those two styles, as they bring in some Melodic moments into both styles throughout this album, and for a strong Doom-based album, it makes for a very interesting listen on their second full-length release, Ascending in Triumph, as well as a rather enjoyable one.

The hint of melody blended into the music doesn’t necessarily mean that the band tacked it on for the heck of it. Nox Aurea have composed some very heavy, slow paced Doom ballads that blends in the best aspects of Death Metal much like one would see in earlier Opeth recordings, as well as a slight Gothic approach through the lyrical imagery and even including female vocals where applicable. The melodic aspect to this release deals more with how catchy the chords wind up being in comparison to being a catchy, upbeat, even uptempo album. This is proof right on the title track, “Ascending in Triumph”, which kick starts the album on such a dismal atmosphere, sticking mostly to composing a track without any real melodic moments, but some do wander in to make this band’s sound a little unique, as well as brace the listener fo what’s to come. “The Loss and Endeavour of Divinity” is really where the album show’s it’s true colors thanks to the keyboards adding a haunting, yet addicting atmosphere to the track, and the bridging between Doom and Death Metal in the verses and bridges causes this track to be a whirlwind of varying emotions that keep the listener attentive throughout the nearly nine minute song without any hint of boredom setting in. While this track does really push the melodic aspect of their writing with faster paced music, it doesn’t usher in a lighter, upbeat feeling at all, and instead simply causes the music to become that much more crushing by making it sound more epic then it would have been.

Much of Ascending in Triumph seems to follow the path that was laid out in the title track, however, like the aforementioned “The Loss and Endeavour of Dignity”, there are tracks that take things to a whole other level thanks to the added melodic and female vocal aspects. Sure these elements appear in pretty much every song, and they work out quite well in many cases, however “Mother Aletheia Chapter II” (which, yes, follows from the track “Morther Alethia” on the debut album Via Gnosis) that really picks up the intensity from the high speed guitars and drums that have a strong, depressive keyboard track going on behind them. This introduction to the song is really the only aspect that this speed is used, as the rest continues down to a much slower pace, but this song incorporates some rather Gothic uplifting atmosphere, especially around half way through the song during the time of the female vocals, then keeps building into more intensity and speed. Like others here, this song focuses moreso on being a Death Metal song, but utilizes the general musical construct of Doom Metal to push it along and make it all work out.

These more faster paced tracks really wind up pushing the album pretty far. While the standard slower paced Death/Doom tracks themselves are impressive, sometimes they can be rather standard for the style, leaving listeners thinking about such bands as Draconian on tracks like “The Shadowsless Plains” and “My Voyage Through Galactic Aeons”. The music here is indeed done well, and on these tracks, they really do stand out nicely thanks to how much is actually going on in the song, and how well everything flows together without the songs becoming drawn out due to some of the extensive track lengths, or even boring. In fact, it’s the longer songs that really work out best for the band, as “The Delight of Autumn Passion”, which is only six and a half minutes in length compared to the standard eight minutes plus per track, really doesn’t quite seem whole. It’s not like the track was rushed, but as if the band had capped the song early like they wrote themselves into a corner and couldn’t make anything else work, so they decided to just keep it at a somewhat shortened pace. One listen to this track and it’s clear that there was still plenty of room to build upon the song and not only make it longer, but more complex like every other song on this release. The only exception to this time rule would be the closing track “Emendare” which is a nice little piano instrumental that wraps up the overall bleak feeling of the album nicely, as well as beautifully.

When you break Ascending in Triumph down, the melodic aspects are what really shake things up for the album, but in a very positive way. These songs break up the slower paced Doom-based tracks before it all just starts to go into a mundane repetition, and helps the listener continue to be interested in the album throughout by bringing this overall epic feeling, and in some instances throughout, a slight hint of hope before being crushed against under the completely dismal atmosphere of the album once again. if you want something that leaves you with all hope lost, then Ascending in Triumph by Nox Aurea is your next prime choice.

01. Ascending in Triumph – 8:00
02. The Loss and Endeavour of Divinity – 8:46
03. The Shadowless Plains – 8:16
04. Mother Aletheia Chapter II – 10:00
05. The Delight of Autumn Passion – 6:24
06. My Voyage Through Galactic Aeons – 8:48
07. To the Gravel I Belong – 8:10
08. Emendare – 4:11
Overall Score: 7/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Napalm Records.