Noctu – Gelidae Mortis Imago

3 min read

Band: Noctu
Title: Gelidae Mortis Imago
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release date: 08 May 2020
Country: Italy
Format reviewed: Digital promo

This week’s pick for me has been an interesting one. A few weeks ago my friend Tom and I started to gather information and pointers for our new Saturday article Underground Updates, and the debut article included the upcoming full length album from NOCTU, titled “Gelidae Mortis Imago”. Italian is not my strong suit so the album name and track titles didn’t really tell me much, however, knowing since that first UU article was done that NOCTU focuses on funeral doom metal I was interested in hearing for myself what we had recommended for others to check out.

Although only six tracks the album is over an hour long, with the last track being about half that length. The opener “Suicidio Al Chiaro di Luna”is one of the shorter ones that brings forth dripping sounds, huge distant reverbs and winds. Apart from some lonely notes on an overly synthetic piano there isn’t much going on so it’s hard to tell what might be ahead. The general feeling it gave me was that I was in a 1920 black and white silent horror movie about vampires.

The follow-up track “Fitte Tenebre” goes on for the next 16 minutes, which in my opinion is way over the top and very few things will be able to keep a listener interested for so long. Dark, distant, low synthetic choirs and winds are joined by a bass that gives it some epic sense, and the feel of judgment day approaching and the sound of the out of tune guitar makes it even more disturbing. I hoped it was done on purpose. After a little while, it became obvious that NOCTU’s music is that typical normal music played at a 50% speed type of doom. The vocals are in the form of ghostly whispers but it goes on in the same way for the first 6 minutes when it changes slightly. I imagined this to have more of an art purpose than musical because if you are going to go on for 16 minutes, than playing around with free VST-plugins in Cubase isn’t going to cut it.  

The next long track, “Lucida Oscurita Senziente” counts almost 19 minutes. Being in the same extremely slow pace this one, however, has a slightly happier feel to the lead guitar melody. The ghostly shrieks are also present as previously and the overall feel is as the music describes; atmospheric and dark, but does not sound like metal, rather than slowmo rock music.

Finally, strolling around for the final whooping 32 minutes or so is “Isolato Da Un Mondo Senza Speranza”. Starting out with that generic judgement day Terminator sounding keyboards which I have kind of gotten found on, three minutes later there is no change. The keyboard and guitar is playing out notes at random it feels with no red thread. Which I suppose is fine, but for me the project doesn’t get away with it because when I look back in time to the great ones who have managed to pull such thing off you realize they are known for managing to keep a thread for such a long time, adding progressive elements to evolve the story and the feel of the track. Not just keep the same two different parts going for the sake of making a long track.

Listening to this album left me with a huge question mark on my forehead. I would like to think that this project is meant as an art project and an expression of NOCTU´s own impression of his surroundings and even life as it is very artsy, but as far as craftsy I’m going to have to say not so much. The album cover is pretty neat though. 5/10 by Julia Katrin


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5/10 Floating in the sea of mediocrity
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