Noctambulist
The Barren Form

Denver’s Noctambulist return with their second album, The Barren Form.   I was not familiar with this group and wanted to check out their material.  It is quite pummeling and reminds me a bit of Hate Eternal and Virtriol at times.  I do wish at times that the guitars had a bit more clarity as at times it can be hard to hear them over the drum mix.  These songs have a unique character to them.  “Depletion” is wonderful blend of intensity, speed, and tempo changes.  There is an excellent build into a drum fill second into incredibly tight blur of double kicks and blasts.  These arrangements are quite massive with each track clocking in between six and eleven minutes.   There is an airiness to the overall production which can make it hard at times the space between the instrumentation.   That being says this is pretty in your face from start to finish.

“Infinitesimal” is the longest track on the album and starts off with a unique mid-paced built that transitions into a freight train of riffs and incredible drum work.  The song continues to build into an interesting groove section that contrasts back into fast drumming and riff grinding.  A break comes at around the 3:20 mark and builds into a nice cold sounding arpeggio section.  This a group I would love to see live with how intense and massive these arrangements are.

Drummer, M.N is an absolute machine.  I really am enjoying this approach to black/death.  They do not teeter too far one way or another between the black metal and death metal influences which combined creates some incredibly interesting layers of songwriting.  I would almost say there are slight tinges of funeral doom influences.  I love the way the drum patterns line up with the guitar parts.  Each instrument has its own space from each other which comes through better as the album progresses.

The song continues up until an atmospheric break at the 8:00 minute mark that has a bit of a tribal thing happening with the percussion with low pitched horns in the background.  Almost reminds of something Neurosis might do.  It is a nice way to break up the album going into the second half.  “Engulfed” wastes no time in obliterating the eardrums of the listener.  This one has some lower end chugs to kick things off amongst all the blazing speed.  This album is doing for me what last years Proscription Conduit on Dark Descent Records did for me as far as being an incredibly atmospheric black/death band.  Also, both bands have a Colorado connection.  The biggest contrasts being the speed difference.

This is an album to take your time with to listen to as these song structures are so huge.  This album gets better every track and by the end of it you may to take a second to get your heart rate back down as this one does not relent.   Another winner from Willowtip Records.   Good luck keeping up with their summer release schedule.  I am still trying to keep up.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
July 22nd, 2021

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