#OrderOfNosferat The Absence Of Grace

5 min read

Band: Order of Nosferat
Album: The Absence of Grace
Label: Purity Through Fire
Release date: 21 March 2024
Country: Germany/Finland
Format Reviewed: High-quality digital recording

If there is any album that deserves to be called incredible among this year’s black metal releases, it’s this one. Order of Nosferat strikes once again, delivering this masterpiece of darkness, emotion, and power. Perhaps my bias towards this genre is affecting my opinion in one way or another, but even if it didn’t, I would still praise this album. The Absence of Grace takes the listener on a journey through inner darkness, tenebrous forests, ancient ruins, and black magic, with its incredible drumming and riffs, soulful background synth, and bone-chilling vocal performance. This is a black metaller’s heaven in every sense, and I speculate that it will get the appreciation it deserves in the following period.

The Absence of Grace starts off with “Behold the Rising Horrors”. Right from the bat, it brings out a particularly interesting feeling, the one of finding yourself in a dark, soothing place, carried out solely by the faded synth that makes up the whole intro track.

“Floating with the Ravaged Ones” suddenly explodes in a mid-paced song, with atmospheric riffs that emphasize even more the emotions brought out by the synth. The drumming falls perfectly in place with the guitars and synth, giving it a strong feeling of balance, becoming the pulse of the song. Then there’s the vocals. As soon as you first hear them, the already great song is elevated utter epicness. They are more or less high pitched, obviously harsh and distorted, yet they still reflect the melody of the riffs, pushing the melancholic aspect of the music to the foreground in the most beautiful, soothing, yet still dark and pure. All of these elements make the music almost flow through the listener, engulfing the soul like the long-awaited, cold embrace of solitude.

“In this Solitude We Dwell” is another synth track, that follows the pattern of the previous song. The atmosphere remains mostly unchanged, yet there are some slight epic melody flares in the synth passage, that have this interesting decorative quality, with the song starting of as a barely audible hidden melody, slowly progressing into the next track.

“Devoured by Lurking Shadows” brings about a slightly slower tempo, with an even more nostalgic melody that follows in the footsteps of the previously established one. The riffs have a more pronounced eerie quality, the melody being mostly executed by the synth. The drumming carries out the same pulse like quality, but with slightly more variation, and a slightly stronger presence, due to the numerous tempo changes that take place throughout the song. The vocals once again deliver a dose of raw emotion, soaring above the music. Towards the middle of the composition, the song picks up the pace, turning to blast beats for a short while, which is probably the best part of the song. It feels like gazing at the night sky, the wind blowing through your hair. I think if freedom could be captured in a song it would be this. I sometimes wonder how something so undoubtedly dark and grim, can be so beautiful and touching. That’s the cool thing with black metal, I suppose.

“Scratch out my Face on Every Portrait” is one of the less “epic” songs on the record, this being where the nihilistic aspects of both the record and band itself shine through. All that was uplifting on the previous tracks is now replaced with utter bleakness. Yet, this is also one of the most relatable songs from the record. With its doomy riffs, slow drumming, an almost depressing melody and a soul crushing vocal execution, this song portrays perfectly the feeling of utter self loathing and loneliness that we have all felt in our darkest hours. It’s an anthem to nihilism, and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s also the kid of song that you keep coming back from, listen after listen.

“Under the Sinister Shroud of Isolation” showcases a return to a similar melody to the one that starts this album, yet, this time, the synth is even more faded and distorted, almost like it was recorded underwater. It comes as a sort of break after the crushing “Scratch out my Face on Every Portrait”, giving the listener time to gather his thoughts before continuing the journey through the shadows.

“The Absence of Grace” is one of the groovier songs from the record, and also the track which restores the epic feel of the first two songs, although not without the ever-present melancholy and raw emotion. The drumming, like I mentioned, is more groovy and engaging, giving the song an almost headbanging like quality. It is the kind of song that becomes a fan favorite, as it has all the necessary qualities for this category of tracks. At some point, however, is slows down, going back to those ever present doomy feelings, and soothing pace, before picking up again and resuming it’s original tempo. It is very likely the most memorable song from the album, along with, of course, “Scratch out my Face on Every Portrait”.

“Blood Stains the Fallen Snow” is undoubtedly the most eerie of the synth tracks sprinkled throughout the record, and my personal favorite for that matter. It is very simple, consisting of an ensemble of about 3 or 4 notes, with a prolonged chord in the background, yet it works so well in achieving that uneasy atmosphere we all know and love.

Approaching the end of the record, “Cruelty Betowed Revelation” starts out with a slow-paced, meditative riff, before suddenly picking up into another groovy, powerful banger. The sudden tempo change didn’t fail to take me by surprise. This is also the song with the most obvious guitar work, with the riffs being the center of attention for the whole duration of the song. It almost feels like something off of Totenwache’s “Der Schwarze Hort”. The vocals are as incredible as any other song on the album. Despite this, the last half of the song is where it really starts to shine. The composition becomes suddenly high-paced and epic, returning to that original mood from the first two tracks, thus helping wrap up the album, signaling its imminent ending in the most beautiful way possible.

“Remain in Everlasting Silence” closes the album, with yet another synth passage, this time filled with a feeling of resignation, that is uncannily peaceful. It creates both similarity and contrast to the beginning of the album, a quality of significant importance.

All in all, I think The Absence of Grace is an album that speaks for itself, more than I am able to write about it. I highly recommend anyone to go give it a try, and I can guarantee that you won’t regret giving it a listen. 10/10 by Ioana

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