Notes From the Underground: NOCTUM
Deep within the heavy metal underground, there exists a place where the old style of heavy blues-based doom rock is still practiced, where the hellish sounds of early Black Sabbath, Flower Travellin’ Band, Coven, Blue Cheer and demo-era Pentagram still ring as loud as they did in the Seventies.
This is exactly where Uppsala, Sweden’s Noctum reside. One listen to their two-track promo (which can be listened at their MySpace), and it becomes obvious that they have done their homework… And goddamn if they aren’t A students. In fact, they just might be too good at replicating the old gods of metal.
But, if you’re gonna worship, where better than at the throne of the mighty Black Sabbath, which Noctum do to good effect on the opener “Children of Darkness.” This heavy track emits a Black Sabbath vibe, punctuated by riffs—courtesy of guitarist Per Wikström—that would surely make Tony Iommi proud. Wikström is supported by bassist Tobias Rosén and drummer Gustaf Heinemann, who also do their best to conjur the Sabbathian rhythm section.
But rather than sounding like the Ozzman, singer David Indelöf has a voice that’s somewhere between original Witchfinder General singer Zeeb Parkes and Witchcraft’s Magnus Pelander. The Witchcraft comparison doesn’t end there, as heard on “Fortune Teller” ’s guitar tone and groove.
The excellent German label High Roller Records have picked up Noctum, and the band is scheduled to issue its first full-length release later this year. And if this two-track promo is any indication of what’s to come, I can’t wait for the thick riffs and spot-on Seventies production.
Though Noctum have not yet found their unique sound within this small genre (especially with Witchcraft and Graveyard around), this young band has potential. Expect to be hearing lots of good—and heavy—things from these guys soon. —Henry Yuan