Sheffield-based duo Nokturnal Ritual have been around for five years now, and in that time have improved their second-wave inspired black metal attack considerably. Entity of the Unholy was an improvement over debut Ushering a New Era of Agony; and, in turn, new album Out from the Old Earth is an improvement over Entity of the Unholy. Theirs is no grand evolution of black metal, but instead a dark celebration of the genre, paying homage to masters of old without sounding trapped by the restrictions of the genre. It’s relatively straight-forward black metal played with conviction and talent, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you want to hear.
The specter of bands such as Immortal, Satyricon, and early Cradle of Filth hangs heavy over Nokturnal Ritual, but the band still find ways to add their own identity to what is often a tired style of music. Most notably, the inclusion of flute melodies adds a medieval, haunting atmosphere to Out from the Old Earth, and fits in remarkably well with their harsh black metal onslaught. Furthermore, the confidence of the band is growing with every release, as is their song-writing skill, carving out their own niche within modern second-wave inspired acts. That’s a noteworthy achievement in a style swarming with bands who are content to sound like their idols and nothing more.
Out from the Old Earth is available to download via Bandcamp.