Nocturnalia – Above Below Within

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/Label: http://www.bengans.se/minishops/nocturnalia/
Released: 2015

Above Below Within Above Below Within

Band Line-up: 

Linus – Vocals
Dennis – Drums
Martin – Bass
Kalle – Guitar
Linus – Guitar

Tracklisting:

1. Vandringen
2. Within His Lies
3. The Watchman
4. Lady Of The Woods
5. Sing To Sleep My Soul
6. The Stone
7. Towards The End

Review: 

This brilliant release by Sweden’s Nocturnalia (formally Nocturnal) is their second full length album. Recorded and mixed by newly added guitarist Linus Lundgren, ‘Above Below Within’ is a self-produced masterpiece.

‘Vandringen’ opens the album with a somber piano melody, slow and deliberate, echoing into an all-consuming darkness. The second track ‘Within His Lies’… what can I say? The last thing I expected after the melancholic intro was to be flung into the midst of a 70s psychedelic explosion with hints of Iron Butterfly and Blue Cheer.

This is upbeat, bluesy and most of all, fun. Full of grooving bass lines accompanying lightly distorted guitars, rhythm and tempo changes and an usual samba-esque breakdown this is definitely a bit different. After the eerie introduction of the ‘The Watchman’, Nocturnalia’s abilities are solidified in a tightly woven display of musicianship and vocalist Linus delivers a performance that could tear your heart to pieces. The fourth track ‘Lady of the Woods’ is laid back and melodic. Nocturnalia’s influences are clear within their beautifully crafted guitar riffs overlaying the bass and percussion before vocals reminiscent of Deep Purple break through and captivate. ‘Sing To Sleep My Soul’ returns to the psychedelic with jazz-inspired drum patterns, relentless bass lines and solos.

This release never stops adding and even the unusual Aboriginal outro is melded in and accepted. Penultimate track ‘The Stone’ reminds me of Ghost B.C. in its structure, feel and delivery after which ‘Towards The End’ closes the album in a final display of melancholic before a solo piano echoes once again into the darkness.

‘Above Below Within’ sounds effortless, which is far from easy to achieve. There are many familiar elements and a clear sight into Nocturnalia’s influences, but this certainly not a hindrance to their output and instead enhances it. Their tightly woven compositions flow together beautifully and the only thing that sits slightly out of place is the opening piano track. ‘Above Below Within’ captures the feel and sound of Nocturnalia’s hard-rock predecessors, amalgamating them with complex rhythmic devices and impressive musicianship to deliver a modern feel on a classic era.

Review by Helena Byrne
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