Ascending In Triumph
posted on 7/2010 By:
Melodic doom/death sometimes seems like a (sub-sub) genre without any real set of parameters. Bands lacking the proper songwriting chops more often than not come off like they’d be better suited playing funeral doom, melodeath, or gothic metal full of pomp and theatrics, but don’t possess the man fruits to fully pursue their dreams. Thankfully, Sweden’s Nox Aurea do have the chops, and sophomore effort Ascending In Triumph balances their tastes for the above styles into a high quality and beautifully-produced example of melodic doom/death.
Educated doom/death ears with no knowledge of the band’s geographic origin would most likely place Nox Aurea in the Finnish camp. After all, their mix of a plodding bottom end, guttural male and ethereal female vocals, and occasionally sweeping symphonic keys resembles a stylistic marriage of early Swallow the Sun and Shape of Despair. Not to disappoint the gothophiles, but the female vocals and symphonics, while certainly prevalent, are not given the megalomaniacal treatment they might be in gothic metal bands such as Therion or Nightwish. As a result, Ascending In Triumph steers clear of the pretentions that often hinder (or aid, depending on your opinion) metal music that employs these tools in tandem. Occasionally joining this framework are the types of somber guitar harmonies familiar to My Dying Bride fans, magnified tremolo work stretched over slow tempos, and more up-tempo heaviness, giving Nox Aurea additional strings to weave into their dynamic and depressive tapestry.
Perhaps the most telling quality of Ascending In Triumph is how its one-hour length passes in seemingly no time. Starting with minimalistic rhythm guitar and a slower, almost funeral doom lead melody, the title track shifts into head-banging mode at the three minute mark, putting the listener in a grip that doesn’t loosen until the soft neoclassical piano of “Emendare” has completely faded. Along the journey are further reminders of Nox Aurea’s skill with doleful landscapes, such as the chilling climax to “The Loss And Endeavor Of Dignity” and the pulsating main riff of “My Voyage Through Galactic Aeons.” But most captivating are the shifts between keyboard/string melodies, heavy prog-doom, and female vocals within “Mother Aletheia Chapter II.” It is both the longest track and the album’s obvious “hook” moment, planting the seeds for required repetitive listening.
Add in a textured and very appropriate production, and Ascending In Triumph forms into a winner. It may not quite reach the level of albums such as The Morning Never Came or Angels of Distress, but it certainly comes close, and it more than holds its own against the majority of the style. Nox Aurea is the real deal in a genre that is too often lacking it. Do yourself a favor and reserve some doom bucks for this one.
Register to post comments.