Nokturnal Mortum - _Weltanschauung_
(No Colours Records, 2005)
by: Quentin Kalis (9 out of 10)
It has been a long time since 1999's _Nechrist_. In the mean time, Nokturnal Mortum provided a teaser in the form of _The Taste of Victory_ and kept us entertained with several side projects, a "greatest hits" compilation and a deluge of re-releases. But what everyone really wanted was a new Nokturnal Mortum full-length; so the question on everyone's lips is: "is the CD any good?" The quick answer is "yes, but with reservations", and I will discuss the reasons why shortly. First, some general comments about the music.

There is a severe cleavage between _Nechrist_ and _Weltanschauung_; musically, there is a far greater reliance on the use of Slavic folk melodies and instrumentation, which are generally incorporated much more effectively. The dichotomy is also due in part to Nokturnal Mortum's wholehearted conversion to NSBM, which was tentatively embraced on _Nechrist_. On the lyrical side there has been a shift away from standard black metal fare, towards full-fledged NSBM songs reveling in acts of battle and glory -- and, of course, white power. The epic nature is also reflected in the running length of the 'real' songs, all of which surpass the ten minute mark with ease.

There are what I would call six 'real' songs on this album; the remaining eight tracks consist of folkish and ambient interludes between the songs. These 'real' songs include three songs which appeared on _The Taste of Victory_ as rough mixes. However, these versions are obviously the final mixes, and not unsurprisingly, are more potent and punchier than before. The other three songs maintain the same high standard for the most part; however, I seriously doubt that "The Knots Upon the Thread of Fate" will be remembered as classic Nokturnal Mortum.

And now on to why I expressed reservations regarding this album. Firstly, the interludes: the songs all merge into one another, suggesting that these interludes should be seen as intros or as an attempt to set the atmosphere. Actually, they do absolutely nothing for the album; the 'proper' songs are bursting at the seams with folkish elements and certainly do not require silly interludes to create a sense of atmosphere, and it is rather disappointing that they felt the need to do this. The most likely explanation for their presence seems to be for the sole purpose of increasing the number of songs to the iconic 14. (Nokturnal Mortum fans may recall that _Nechrist_ contained a symbolic 88 tracks.)

Secondly, while Knjaz Varggoth is no stranger to creating dark ambience and displays uncontested skill in doing so -- as his Mistiggo Varggoth Darkestra project will testify -- the inclusion of ambient interludes is largely out of place in an album dominated by folk orientated melodies. Thirdly, their (over) use of samples of warfare is unwarranted. Samples may be tolerable for a new band who have just released their debut and are still finding their sound, but it is entirely unacceptable for an established band to resort to such unoriginality -- though hackneyed samples of warfare seem to have gained undeserved popularity amongst many in the NSBM scene. A veteran and accomplished band such as Nokturnal Mortum should be able to recreate the atmosphere of war, of glory, of death, purely through their music and without opting for lazy tricks such as movie samples.

I find it hard to give this album a rating that accurately reflects my thoughts. Songs such as "The New Era of Swords" and "A Taste of Victory" alone are enough to make me seriously consider this album as one of the top releases of 2005, whose sole competition so far is the new Moonsorrow. But taken in the context of the album as a whole -- where my finger hits the fast-forward button way too often -- to give it such a high rating would be an inaccurate reflection. Then again, the five excellent 'real' songs form about 45 minutes of the album's 75 minute playing time -- and surely any album with 45 minutes worth of excellent music is worth the purchase price? My overall rating therefore is a 9 out of 10 -- but keeping in mind all that has been said above.

Contact: English version distributed by No Colours; contact Oriana for _Mirovozzrenie_, the Russian version.

(article published 5/24/2005)


ALBUMS
2/14/2010 K Sarampalis 9.5 Nokturnal Mortum - The Voice of Steel
11/29/2004 Q Kalis 7.5 Nokturnal Mortum - Twilightfall
10/14/2003 Q Kalis 8.5 Nokturnal Mortum - The Taste of Victory
8/12/2001 B Meloon 8 Nokturnal Mortum - Lunar Poetry
8/12/2000 B Meloon 7 Nokturnal Mortum - NeChrist
3/14/1999 B Meloon 7 Nokturnal Mortum - To the Gates of Blasphemous Fire
6/7/1998 B Meloon 8 Nokturnal Mortum - Goat Horns
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