Noctule - Wretched Abyss
Genre: Black Metal
Release Date: 24th February 2021
Record Label(s): Translation Loss Records/Chruch Road Records
Album Release Date: N/A
Serena Cherry - Everything
Noctule - Wretched Abyss
Rating (out of 5🤘): 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
Serena Cherry, known as part of Bristol's epic genre bending act Svalbard, has created a new solo project under the name of Noctule. The theme of the project's music is based on Bethesda's world renowned and beloved epic fantasy game The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. The Nordic inspired aesthetic and lore of the game is one that is perfectly suited to the raw and ice cold sound of black metal, so it begs the question as to why it hasn't been done before? Either way, everyone wins here because we now have a song that is perfect for our multiple play-throughs of the legendary game. With its stunning artwork to its rawest riff Wretched Abyss will have you screaming into the sky like the Dovahkiin for the rest of the album. It is fair to say that Serena is "a warrior with the body of a mortal and soul of a dragon, whose destiny it is to destroy the evil dragon Alduin" and then some.
The song itself takes on an interesting vibe, with spine tingling, old school vocals, combined with the melodic uniqueness of Obsequiae, the atmospheric intensity of Saor and the driving rhythms of Windir. All these elements together help create the vivid imagery of dragons circling snow capped mountain ranges that hold the decaying ruins of ancient fortresses. With epic passages of layered synths and choral vocals creating an all encompassing atmospheric phenomenon, the song overwhelms you with a beauty and grandeur which transcends beyond the conceptual theme. The harmonious melodic lines evolve throughout the song, ascending and descending like the flight path of a dragon. With the swelling pads and synths behind them they seem to float over the top of the pounding battle rhythms, giving the song a triumphant feel and also beautifully melancholic. The song is elaborate, ornate and finely crafted, using an easy ebb and flow form of dynamics so the more aggressive sections have a devastating impact when they come in Wretched Abyss is also incredibly sophisticated and texturally rich, with each listen through and immersion you get more and more out the song. Overall, for a debut single it will definitely leave you wanting more, it will be interesting and exciting to see what comes out next from Noctule's dark and mysterious hollow.
The production is just flat out epic, without any shadow of a doubt. The vocal mix although central doesn't come to the forefront and overpower the guitars, it helps the melodies craft the song's story in a highly atmospheric setting, which is invigorating and exciting. The kick drum has an awesome thump and click that helps drive the song with blistering pace, accompanied by a short, viciously snapping snare. The bass rumbles steadily below the soaring guitars, augmenting the rhythms and allowing the leads to fully express themselves. The lead tones them selves have a crystal clear sharpness to them, and when they jointly harmonise they feed off of each other to create illustrious, sweeping atmospherics. Overall, it will be interesting to hear the song in the context of an album as the tantalising clean vocal fade out feels like a short build up to another song.
If you fancy exploring the realm of Skyrim through black metal, then get listening to Noctule! I think it is fair to say that Serena has struck gold combining black metal and Skyrim, two incredible mediums that utilise epic atmosphere and masterful storytelling.