Númenor – Colossal Darkness (Stygian Crypt Productions)Tuesday, 11th November 2014
Hailing from Belgrade, Serbia, Númenor plays fantasy-literature inspired epic black metal with twinges of power and symphonic metals. In existence since 2009, the band released Colossal Darkness in 2013, its full-length debut. Taking their name from a legendary island (home to the realm of Men) in the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, Númenor appropriately touch subject matter running from alchemy and sorcery to battle and dragons. Such as this genre is, fantasy pretty much is the subject matter and inspiration behind it all. Perhaps pioneered by Summoning and their own Tolkien worship, the genre has, well, become it’s own sub-genre much to the delight of bookworm metalheads all around the globe.
At the opening of the album is “Opus Draconis”, a symphonic intro piece that creates the epic atmosphere and segues into track two’s “The Eternal Champion” with a vibe that almost feels Italian, a la Rhapsody. But similarities between the two should end after this point…this is definitely not neoclassical power stuff, but it is an interesting version of epic black metal, having a rather light feel about it all across the album.
What Colossal Darkness lacks for in memorability (and thus longevity) it compensates for in execution. This five-piece feature adept musicianship from top to bottom, and excel in the album’s guitar work in solo and riff. Singer Despot Marko Miranović occasionally strays from his primary harsh style into a clean, almost operatic style, using this contrast in good balance. Modern production values and non-breakneck speed (but nicely varied) help with the record’s emotive qualities. This is one of those albums that could have benefited from a better song choice for the top of the album. When announcing one’s arrival to the world, it helps to have a real stunner in the lead – something that “The Eternal Champion” just isn’t. Fortunately, better songs are in store as the album marches ahead, and given that this is the band’s maiden voyage, it’s a safe bet that better albums lie up the road as well. All around, a pretty solid debut from a talented band, and as of this review, the follow-up album is currently in works.
Album highlight: “Servants of Sorcery”