Album Review – Nocturnal Wanderer / Gift of the Night (2021)

This unknown entity will crush your soul with its newborn beast, offering endless midnight mysticism and reverence for all that goes by night.

Formed in the Spring of 2021 in the Pacific Northwest region as a one-man anonymous project, Portland, Oregon-based Black Metal entity Nocturnal Wanderer has just released its debut full-length opus, entitled Gift of the Night. Recorded and produced at Sacred Atavism, and featuring illustrations by Thaumaturge Artworks and lettering by NW, the album showcases a traditional Black Metal sound and minimalist compositions, yet allowing the occasional Heavy Metal style solo to seep in. Ferocious while at the same time strangely serene and triumphant, Gift of the Night is a singular beast offering us all endless midnight mysticism and reverence for all that goes by night, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the music by Havukruunu, Malokarpatan, Panphage and Arckanum, among others.

The opening track Twilight Befell is an infernal, raw Black Metal feast with darkly poetic lyrics (“Eventide arrive / Sunlight’s glow fading / Darkness creatures stirring / Bats flitter across the black sky / Aria of dusk / Air chill and sharp / Breathe the night into lungs”) to properly kick off the album, whereas our anonymous lone wolf continues to hammer his drums and extract sulfur from his stringed axe in Darkness in Rapture, another demented old school Black Metal tune presenting all elements we love in the genre. Then adding the most Stygian elements from Doom Metal to his core sonority it’s time for the sinister Sentient Shadows, where once again this one-man horde presents a visceral job on the guitars and drums until the very last second; and drinking from the blasphemous fountain of classic bands the likes of Mayhem, Immortal and Dark Funeral he brings forward By Moonlight, showcasing another round of sick riffs, incendiary blast beats and venomous roars. His second to last breath of darkness comes in the form of Distant Stars in Distant Skies, sounding absolutely haunting and vile, all spiced up of course by his grim, otherworldly gnarls, and there’s time for one final blast of obscurity by Nocturnal Wanderer entitled The Amberdawn, which takes too long to take off and lacks those traditional Black Metal words and growls, but nothing that would cause any harm to the album.

If you consider yourself a true servant of darkness, you can enjoy Gift of the Night in its entirety on YouTube, and of course purchase a copy of such raw and intense album from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the Nameless Grave Records’ webstore or from the Balor’s Eye Productions’ BandCamp page, diving even deeper into the void that consumes our souls. Although the entity behind  Nocturnal Wanderer doesn’t want to disclose his identity (at least not for now), that won’t stop fans of the darkest side of music, including myself, to thank him for bringing into being Gift of the Night, a precious gem of the underground that will help in keeping the flames of Black Metal burning for centuries to come, leaving us even more curious to know the real name of a creature so loyal to the dark.

Best moments of the album: Darkness in Rapture and By Moonlight.

Worst moments of the album: The Amberdawn.

Released in 2021 Nameless Grave Records/Balor’s Eye Productions/Altare Productions

Track listing
1. Twilight Befell 4:45
2. Darkness in Rapture 3:57
3. Sentient Shadows 5:39
4. By Moonlight 5:27
5. Distant Stars in Distant Skies 5:25
6. The Amberdawn 6:10

Band members
Anonymous – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – NONE / Damp Chill of Life (2019)

Accept hopelessness and succumb to the brand new opus by this unknown entity from the Pacific Northwest, picking apart your psyche and destroying your seasonal optimism with their oppressively bleak atmosphere.

Since their introduction in the spring of 2017, the enigmatic and anonymous Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal unity NONE, from Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, has crafted disturbing and emotionally devastating music that have garnered the attention of many listeners of the genre. After having released their self-titled debut opus on April 11, 2017, a thick shroud of piercing guitar interwoven with haunting synth and tortured vocals marching in despair towards an empty void, followed by Life Has Gone On Long Enough exactly one year later, on April 11, 2018, developing its tortured personality further, NONE returned this spring like clockwork, once again on April 11, with their brand new effort entitled Damp Chill of Life, weaving visionary soundscapes with first-class Depressive Black Metal, picking apart your psyche and destroying your seasonal optimism with their oppressively bleak atmosphere.

As atmospheric and cold as possible, the intro Fade embraces our souls in darkness and sets the tone for the chilling and piercing sounds from the 10-minute aria The Damp Chill of Life, with its Doom Metal beats, melodic riffs and an ethereal background generating the perfect ambience for NONE’s desperate, raspy gnarls. In other words, this is a lesson in Depressive Black Metal, alternating between serene passages and aggressive and dense riffs and vociferations, and flowing majestically until its melancholic ending. Cease also begins as mournful as a lonely morning in the woods, with the music exploding into the most Stygian form of Atmospheric Black Metal you can think of after four minutes of pure serenity, all enfolded by beautiful piano notes and anguished vocals, once again showcasing a touching finale and building an instant connection with You Did a Good Thing, where the uncanny duo delivers more of their delicate but at the same time crushing music. Furthermore, eerie voices exhale anger, despair and the feeling of loss, matching flawlessly with the music to give the listener a true and deep melancholic taste.

It’s Painless To Let Go brings forward another visceral hybrid of Depressive and Atmospheric Black Metal, this time infused with Doom Metal and Blackened Doom nuances, with the duo delivering somber guitar lines, creepy vocals and endless obscurity for our total delectation; whereas I Yearn to Feel is a semi-acoustic composition by NONE that will penetrate deep inside your mind and take you on a journey through vast, gelid lands, always led by crystalline piano notes and showcasing an enfolding aura. And the music remains bold and inspiring, reverberating into A Chance I’d Never Have, beginning with acoustic guitar lines and growing in intensity and fear until an avalanche of dark and crisp sounds invades our ears. In my humble opinion, this is perhaps NONE’s record with the most introspective vocal lines, and this song is the perfect depiction of that, with its second half offering the listener sheer melancholy and rage in the form of top-of-the-line contemporary Depressive Black Metal.

I’ve already had the utmost pleasure of reviewing all albums released by NONE since the inception of such idiosyncratic and mysterious entity, and I must tell you NONE definitely know how to transform all the solitude, wilderness and bitterly cold winds of the Pacific Northwest into the best Depressive and Atmospheric Black Metal one can ever imagine, showing how connected they are with their homeland. Hence, you should take a good listen at Damp Chill of Life in full on YouTube (especially on your loneliest days), and grab your copy of such bitterly cold album of extreme music from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp or webstore (by the way, you can find all special bundles of the album and all of NONE’s previous releases by clicking HERE), as well as from Apple Music, Amazon, CD Baby or Discogs. Simply succumb to the music by NONE, accept hopelessness, and finally realize you are no one, nowhere, and nothing.

Best moments of the album: The Damp Chill of Life and It’s Painless To Let Go.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Hypnotic Dirge Records

Track listing
1. Fade 1:58
2. The Damp Chill of Life 10:30
3. Cease 8:50
4. You Did a Good Thing 5:08
5. It’s Painless To Let Go 5:56
6. I Yearn to Feel 3:45
7. A Chance I’d Never Have 7:57

Band members
Anonymous – vocals
Anonymous – all instruments