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Nokturnal Mortum
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     "Goat Horns" 1998 The End Records

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                                         Nokturnal Mortum : Goat Horns

I first read an interview of this Ukrainian band in a magazine and thinking, "Wow, these
guys look cool." So with that, I went out a checked out what was to be their best album,
Goat Horns. And wow, this album is unbeliveable. The band has a thing with using A LOT of keyboards throughout their songs. The production is well done with alot of bass drum giving the album a kind of "techno" feel to it, but with all the other instruments in the works it doesn't come out like that by far. The guitars are barely heard, but enough to know that they are there and the bass drum pounds over everything while the keyboards are constantly giving symphonic lines that are no less than amazing. The other thing I love on this album (besides the keyboards) is Varggoth's rasp. Instead of having the rasp be really clear, they have mixed it so it has been drowned in all the other insturments so it sounds muddy. This puts an awesome feel on the record. The drumming is impressive as well. Munruthel works with some pretty complex music and instead of going with a strait drum beat, he mixes things up and has some pretty impressive chops, working with ride, snare, bass drum combinations effectively.

They start out the cd with "Black Moon Overture," which is one of the best ambient keyboard songs I have ever heard and continue to use those keyboard lines in the songs on the rest of the album. They follow up the beautiful "Black Moon Overture" with "Kuyabiya" which is a perfect example of what you are actually going to get into while listening to this album. The third song "Goat Horns" starts off with a nice clean guitar with howling winds and bells in the background, progesses to a march and then blasts your senses with a fast pounding song that shows a Ukrainian feel with the keyboards. "Unholy Orathania" follows up this Ukrainian feel, giving an intro that shows that these guys really like to tie in their culture with their music and it makes the album that much better. "Veles Scrolls" is an 11:46 minute song that has Varggoth's muddy rasp intertwined with harps and blazing drums. "Kolyada" slows things down and with a rock drum beat it lets the keyboards and the guitars explore a little. The Ukrainian feel comes out alot in this song as well, while Varggoth belts out vocals. This song also has some clean vocals in the works, which surprised me, but it adds a great feel to the song. They close out the album with another ambient song called "Eternal Circle". The sound of howling winds, chimed keyboards with symphonic pieces makes this song have a bittersweet aura to it. A great way to close the album.

I can't say enough good things about this record. It still dominates my cd player, even with new cd purchases. Do yourself a favor and get ahold of this record. You definitely won't regret it.

                                                     Overall score: 95/100
Reviewed by Brian