Nocturnal Depression - _Suicidal Thoughts_
(Sun & Moon Records, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (7 out of 10)
_Suicidal Thoughts_ is Nocturnal Depression's 2004 demo now available on a compact disc, after being re-recorded, re-mastered and re-arranged, having been shortened by almost ten minutes compared to the original. I am not familiar with the demo itself, so comparing it to the album would be futile, but the odds are in favour of the album in terms of a better sound quality, packaging, et cetera.

Now, this reviewer's expectations in regard to _Suicidal Thoughts_ were exceptionally low, having remembered the ordeal my ears had to undergo, the aural punishment in the form of the band's third full-length album, namely _Reflections of a Sad Soul_, which is undoubtedly one of the biggest fiascos in metal history. Realizing _Suicidal Thoughts_ had been originally written four years earlier and being a mere first demo was a major turn-off. I was expecting the worst.

I was wrong, for _Suicidal Thoughts_ is an unpolished gem and a lesson in no-frills songwriting that is both primitive yet highly effective; crude yet with an undeniable charm. The production isn't bad for that kind of music: it is open and clear, yet slightly muddy; the instruments do sound primitive and the overall music rather unripe, yet charged with dark, wretched energies. The compositions are tight and simple, endlessly repeating the same circular routes and the same over-played riffs. However, the repetition on this album is rather a blessing instead of being annoying; it generates a hypnotic vibe that grows on the listener and nails them to the chair until the listening session is over.

There is nothing outstanding or original going on in this recording. While one track is exceptionally reminiscent of Burzum's work on _Filosofem_, what with the minimal keyboards and the slow, hazy, dirge-like pace and aura, all other tracks sound like either a rock 'n' roll version of black metal or punk rock's take on that style (think of the very slow, mostly linear songs of Judas Iscariot, for instance). However, despite the aforementioned, _Suicidal Thoughts_ does not contain any 'happy stuff'. On the contrary; even if the music is basic and very much based on the simplest of rock structures and approaches (no blast beats, no tremolo picking, no wall of sound), it is inherently sad and introspective.

The repetitive riffs, the very same riffs exactly running in circles within every track until another riff, later on, substitutes the former and another set of rolling tribal drums and weeping electric guitars goes about its way, spark the magic of this primordial recording. The riffs are all well written, emotionally provocative and well performed. The vocals are low-pitched rasps, lower in tone than the distinctive black metal screeches; these unique vocals do add a certain charm, if not a whole new dimension, to the recording. Again, think of Judas Iscariot's low-pitched throat performances in the band's slowest, saddest moments, and you'll get the idea.

Epilogue: For some strange reason, this album has reminded me of Obskure Torture's _Spilling the Blood of the World_, being the black metal evil twin of the aforementioned, due to the fact both these albums showcase a stark simplicity in songwriting methodology coupled with an engaging, all-encompassing sentiment that elates and transcends the audience. Crude, crass and ugly music that finds a place of beauty and reflection within the heart of the careful listener.

With the release of this album, the small but quality label Sun & Moon Records has allowed for interested parties to listen (and enjoy) an otherwise hard to obtain demo full to the rim with crude beauty and dark magic, and wise a decision it indeed was, releasing this quality demo and making it even a better album, albeit a tad too short.


(article published 4/11/2012)

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