Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Nomad Son - First Light
   
Musical Style: Doom Metal Produced By: David Vella & Nomad Son
Record Label: Metal On Metal Country Of Origin: Malta
Year Released: 2008 Artist Website:
Tracks: 8 Rating: 80%
Running Time: 45:14

Nomad Son - First Light

Malta’s Nomad Son came together in early 2006 as a result of a joining between Frenzy Mono members Jordan Cutajar (vocals), Chris Grech (guitar), Julian Grech (keyboards) and Edward Magri (drums) and Forsaken bassist Albert Bell.  The group can trace its inception to the recording of Frenzy Mono’s debut album Unorthodox.  Producer David Vella, noticing a heaver and darker aspect to Frenzy Mono’s sound, invited Albert to the studio for an impromptu jam session.  Albert accepted the invite with the end result being live recordings of “Shallow Grave” and “Empyrean Fade”, two tracks of classic Hammond organ-driven doom metal.  Continuing to rehearse and compose new material over the weeks that followed, the new five piece unit in time evolved from a studio project to a full-fledged band.

After a two track demo made its way to Metal On Metal Records representative Jowita Kaminska, a contract was soon signed and Nomad Son entered the studio to begin work on its summer of 2008 full length debut First Light.  The album can best be described as traditional doom-metal certain to appeal to fans of Black Sabbath, Trouble, Candlemass, Saint Vitus, Place Of Skulls, Faith, Pylon and Troglodyte Dawn.  The presence of the previously referenced Hammond-organ, at the same time, cannot help but hearken back to 70’s bands Deep Purple and Uriah Heep.

First Light opens to “Forever Twilight” and “Shallow Grave”, two top of the line plodders standing out with their gripping chorus hooks.  The haunting “Seven Notes In Black” and up-tempo “At The Threshold Of Consciousness” might present with melody structures on the more subtle side of things but prove no less able.  “The Light At The End”, as somber piece as you will find, hearkens back to early Black Sabbath while rounding things out are two seven minute exercises in driving doom, “The Wraith” and “Empyrean Fade”.  

Vocalist Jordan Cutajar, with his mid-ranged, gravelly and at time harsh approach, sets the tone.  Powerful in delivery but varied in terms of his dynamic, Jordan perfectly complements the toiling music here.  The majority of the album he sings in his trademark hard edged style while “The Light At The End” finds him smoothing things out.

Doom-ish riffs there are in abundance here- weighty, massive, slogging and heavy as all get out.  Credit, of course, goes to guitarist Chris Grech for not just his abilities on rhythm guitar but as a soloist as well (“Forever Twilight” and “At The Threshold Of Consciousness” display this best).  Underscoring Chris, and proving no slouch himself, is bassist Albert Bell.  The albums clean production values allow Albert’s bass to imbue the mix (particularly on haunting pieces “Seven Notes In Black” and “The Light At The End”).  The Hammond-organ of Julian Grech finds its way onto many tracks here as well- and helps lend to the 70’s comparison in the process. 

In terms of the albums lyrical direction, Albert had the following to say in a recent online interview: “Yes, there is certainly a Christian outlook permeating Nomad Son’s lyrical vision.  This does not mean that we are set on a mission to evangelize humanity or anything like that, or that we are tied to a specific religious denomination intent on converting the world.  However, (that) said, I personally value the basic tenets of Christendom (solidarity, compassion, belief, tolerance etc.) highly and shall not shy way from pronouncing my faith, even if this means that some people might not like it.” 

Eight minute plodder “Forever Twilight” begins to an instrumental joining of drudging rhythm guitar and organ.  The swarthy environs is upheld as the song moves ahead, a low key and guttural resonance holding sway over its verse portions while a brief but catchy chorus reflects the same laborious milieu.  The organ moves to the front of the mix at the start of an instrumental section sustained by a raw edged guitar solo.  “Forever Twilight” documents humanity’s downward spiral and its slow but certain impending doom:

Revelation and truth will burn at the pyre
Dreams of renewal spiral deep into the mire
In this vortex of madness the sands of time run low
Damnation rises from the hell below

Hear the distant thunder; our dim future foretold
Consumed by the cleansing fire; our doom unfolds

“Shallow Grave” might be half the length of its predecessor but holds up every bit as well.  Getting underway to a haunting bass solo, the song gradually plows through its first verse until the rhythm guitar kicks in hard and heavy.  “Shallow Grave” again tapers to a pronounced bass line for the second only to recoil as the rhythm guitar returns to back a chorus with a lyrical direction every bit as biting as the music here:

Welcome to my shallow grave
We’re crucified condemned and slaved
Welcome to my shallow grave
Where are the erudite and brave?

Another solid hook while the lyrics themes build upon those established on “Forever Twilight”.

Puppet masters craving for power
The keepers of truth shrivel and cower
We have long lost sight of what is right
Subordinating sympathy for might

“Seven Notes In Black”, as eerie a track as you will find, presents with some interesting changes in tempo.  A pronounced bass line – backed by Cutajar’s whispered vocal delivery – carries the song during its ethereal verse portions until the rhythm guitar cuts in as impetus picks up for its disconsolate chorus.  The rhythm guitar maintains its presence as “Seven Notes In Black” trudges its final half, backing an instrumental section fortified by a chilling keyboard solo.  Lyrically, Albert wrote this one while his mother was suffering from a cruel illness:

In the shadow of fate
Undeniable truths; obscuring our reality
The hourglass rests
Hopes unmet; spiraling into insanity

Seven notes in black like open wounds never healing
Road to ruin; the pain is never ceasing

Keyboards sustain the airy instrumental “Delirium” its short distance.

“At The Threshold Of Consciousness” represents the albums most upbeat track.  The song immediately jump starts to a forward wall of rhythm guitar, driving ahead unrelentingly as quite the settled scene is put into place.  Chorus wise, the attitude is succinct, harshly delivered and too the point- but giving prominence to quite the pronounced hook in the process.  “At The Threshold Of Consciousness” deals with encountering and coming face-to-face with one’s darkest fears:

As the horror rises, I shudder at its stare
I gaze into the blackness, I meet my nightmare

My senses are numb, my blood runs cold
I beg thee Lord; keep my soul unto Your fold
…at the threshold of consciousness

“The Wraith” proves a slow, driving and caustic piece that more than makes up in somberness what it might lack in all out melody.  No, the chorus here is not the catchiest but the trade off is the abundance of muscular riffs driving its distance and Cutajar’s harsh – but complementary – vocal approach.  Impetus picks up for a forceful instrumental passage.  “The Wraith” focuses on the grief of losing a loved one:

Caressing your desolate shadows
I yearn for the days now forlorn
Our hopes lay ruptured and the epilogue of our tale is thorns

Your gaze gleams and whispers
The awe of the unseen
You marvel at the changing seasons
Your memories stare at what could have been

“Empyrean Fade” brings more of the same: heavy duty riffs, traces of organ and a churning low end dominate the overriding mid-paced landscape.  Again, no pronounced melody to draw upon but more than enough toiling doom-laden ambience puts things over the top.  A touch of the progressive stands out as well.  “Empyrean Fade” portrays an individual on their death bead ruminating on a life of regrets:

Deprived from the touch of the caressing dawn
My cries drown by the distraught souls
Empty broken vows (in) blinding gardens of abasement

I watch the unrepentant seeking to appease their sins
Shadowing the unending misery
Through the illusions of immortality

Frail dreams of grandeur wilt as he darkness sets
My reckoning nears, I draw my final breath

Closing things out is the Sabbath-ish “The Light At The End”.  By far the albums slowest piece, the song melds a forward bass line with ambient keyboards and piano to put in place quite the chilling environs.  While a metal-laced rhythm guitar does not make its presence felt, a bluesy lead guitar stands out along with Cutajar’s smooth sounding vocal presence.  Albert composed “The Light At The End” following the death of his mother:

Across the eventide
Far from the certitude of death
The righteousness by your side
You may dwell serene

Reborn through darkness
Luminescent in His glory
May your splendor glow
Forever, eternally

Track Listing: “Forever Twilight” (7:55), “Shallow Grave” (3:55), “Seven Notes In Black” (6:24), “Delirium” (2:13), “At The Threshold Of Consciousness” (4:31), “The Wraith” (7:49), “Empyrean Fade” (7:28), “The Light At The End Of The Tunnel” (4:58)

Musicians
Jordan Cutajar – Lead Vocals
Chris Grech – Guitars
Julian Grech – Keyboards & Organ
Albert Bell – Bass
Edward Magri - Drums

 

Reviews: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
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