Review : NOCTIFERIA – "DeathCulture"

Release Date: 2010Jul13 (US)
Label: Listenable Records
Rating: 3.5/5

For all its ferocity, modern industrial metal is a delicate beast; and by that, I mean it ought to be intricately wrought. A mechanical execution and cynical sociopolitical lyrics come with the territory, but how people distinguish themselves amongst the apocalyptic fallout is where the challenge lies. This Slovenian quintet sounds as though they actually emerged from a Fear Factory. Peter Tagtren returns to produce, and you can bet he invoked that inner Pain, rather than Hypocrisy.

While I appreciate their intense wall-of-sound approach, Noctiferia needs to lock into grooves for maximum impact. A good example is “Terror”, which melds Meshuggah-like guitars with vocals by Gianni Poposki that are somewhere between Burton C. Bell and Wayne Static, but it sounds like they forgot to write an ending. I can get behind the more majestic keyboard presence in “Deluders & Followers” or the Middle Eastern invocations of “Samsara”, as both add dimension to their rigid structures.

Really, the middle of Deathculture is where the band hits their stride, as far as consistent memorability. The strongest choruses are certainly in “Demoncracy”, “Slavedriver”, and “Rust”. But then I began to wonder if the poppiness got the better of them, as the bass at the start of “Non Individuum” is a little Korn-y, and through “Catarsis” you question whether or not they have any ideas left. Fortunately, “Demagog” works in some Gojira-isms and a couple of twists to keep things interesting. The quasi-creepy spoken word intros on both that and “Holymen” have the air of a rogue ham radio broadcast you are lucky to have happened upon. In similar fashion, the bookending tracks are surprisingly effective at creating an atmosphere without feeling tacked on––they genuinely serve Deathculture well.

Their fourth LP is the first in a three-album deal with Listenable Records, which may prove to be an impressive trifecta indeed. A good industrial metal core is hard to find. Noctiferia is less black than Samael, more heavy than Rammstein, and not as overtly danceable as KMFDM. This is evolving extreme music for our perpetually-shifting musical environment.

FCC: 4
Try: 3, 6, 7, 10, 12

01. Premonition
02. Terror
03. Deluders & Followers
04. Monarch
05. Demoncracy
06. Slavedriver
07. Rust
08. Non Individuum
09. Catarsis
10. Demagog
11. Holymen
12. Samsara
13. SM 02


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