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The National Cemetery Orchestra
Released: 2007, Independent
After three long years, the darkened evil that is The National Cemetery Orchestra has returned. Masterminded by one Karl Nix, this musical entity has been active for a surprisingly long time. A for those who don’t know (tip: read my archived reviews): the Orchestra first emerged out of the mire in 2001 with AS TWILIGHT FADES INTO NIGHT, following that up with the next year’s BEYOND THE SHADOWS. Two years would pass before PRINCE OF ROSH would surface in 2004. Nothing has been heard from Nix in the passing years, but he is back with a vengeance!
Again, for those who aren’t familiar with The National Cemetery Orchestra (NCO), their music is all instrumental, ranging from quiet introspection to an all out thrash assault (but always metal!). The early works were decidedly low-budget, but MONUMENT turns the tide, being by far the best-sounding NCO disc to date. Karl has retained his signature fuzzy tone, but the overall musical landscape is much clearer than before.
Similarly, it sounds as if anno 2006 pissed Karl off, because this album is the most vicious that NCO has done. There is almost a palpable & misanthropic black metal anger contained within these songs that was mere depression on previous releases.
Though all tracks are good, my favorites would probably be the alternately thrashing & lumbering title track, and the positively apocalyptic “Eternal”. Seriously, this song is in the same head space as the similarly themed “Inside the Particle Storm” from Dark Tranquillity’s latest (a fucking great song too!). Pairing these two together would be absolutely lethal.
Despite some ill-chosen riffs scattered throughout the disc (the opening part of “Desolate” is kind of annoying), it’s easy to recommend MONUMENT as the best National Cemetery Orchestra album yet. Seek it out.
2) The Colossal Void
5) March of the Ob
7) In the Empty Halls of Hell
Karl Nix: All instruments
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