noctem-haeresisBoy, does Noctem bring back memories. Back in 2014, Exilium was one of the better albums I reviewed. A lot of this had to do with the fact that I was a n00b in 2014 (Exilium being one of the first reviews I ever wrote for AMG). But, even so, it stuck with me for the rest of the year. So, you can imagine the excitement and nostalgia I felt when this newest album, Haeresis, showed up in my inbox. Which, in turn, had me rediscovering Exilium and recalling all the love I have for it. Along with that, resurfaced fears I had that the band may venture too deep into the symphonic ways of Dimmu Borgir and Septicflesh. Thankfully, Haeresis put those fears to rest. On their newest offering, Noctem retained their necessary ambiance without the help of over-dramatic orchestrations. The result is an aggressive, yet emotional, end-product that allows the essence of Noctem to shine through.

Right away, opener “Through the Black Temples of Disaster” proves no extra stringed instruments are needed on Haeresis. Instead of the Dimmu Borgir-esque orchestration introduction of Exilium, Haeresis opens with a blackened-death assault that nearly startled the snifter of crisp, Christian blood from my hand. If the band was looking to crush expectations with this new record and cause immediate anxiety in their listeners, they achieved it. Within its minuscule three-and-a-half-minute existence, this opening track hints at every curve on the road ahead. This song is packed with everything from lightning-quick guitar leads and impressive drum work to melodic, mid-paced sections filled with soothing clean guitars. This roller-coaster ride cranks up your heart rate like an espresso-shot high before depressing it with a fifth of scotch.

And, as one might expect, Noctem doesn’t let up for the rest of the album. But, this isn’t to say the album is without variation. The band continues to toss in a variety of genres, crafting them into their own brand of grenade. Then chucking them at any poor soul brave enough to walk by. This time around, the thrashy elements of Exilium are not as prominent. While Haeresis‘ assaults are less varied without the thrash component, the band makes up for it by painting the record in a good coat of matte black. Exilium had its fair share of emotion and atmosphere, but this new record is dripping with it.

Like the opener, “Auto-Da-Fé,” “The Submission Discipline,” “Whispers of the Ancient Gods,” and closer “Pactum with the Indomitable Darkness” are saturated with deathly moodiness. They have everything from Belphegor-esque clean-guitar passages to building, Behemoth-like mid-sections. “Whispers of the Ancient Gods,” for instance, opens with some brewing suspense that builds into crushing Gorgoroth riffage before dropping into a sorrowful pit of Dissection. It’s a well-balanced number and the hopelessness of its conclusion makes it one of the better tracks on the album.

Noctem 2016

“The Submission Discipline” tweaks the formula a bit by opening with clean guitars, then transitioning to a groove befitting Absu and Behemoth. The highlight of this ditty coming at the mid-way point. The song collapses on clean guitars that rise from the darkness with stellar guitar leads, building the song up for one last hurrah. Be it a more “epic” approach (“Whispers of the Ancient Gods” and “Pactum with the Indomitable Darkness”) or a straightforward one (“The Submission Discipline” and the title track), Haeresis executes them like any well-oiled machine. 

As you may have noticed, Haeresis is a little different from Exilium. There are some great tracks on the album, but others, like “Blind Devotion,” “The Dark One,” and “Conjuring Degradation and Morbidity,” are a bit bland. But, what really gives Haeresis its strength is its production. The lush dynamics and the great balance make for an enjoyable listen; something not all too common from a black/death outfit like Noctem. In the end, however, I didn’t find Haeresis to be as good as Exilium. I still enjoy it a lot, but it doesn’t hook me like its predecessor did.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Art Gates Records | Prosthetic Records
Releases Worldwide: September 30th, 2016

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  • brklyner

    Damn, it’s raining reviews today!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Get use to it, my friend. Get use to it.

      • brklyner

        I ain’t complaining

        • basenjibrian

          Nor I. AMG is my numbet 1 go to for metal reviews. And the comments section.

          • jetblindracos

            I leave them for last for obvious reasons, of course,last but not least.

  • The Nerd.DMF

    All these reviews… And still no Opeth review.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier


      • The Nerd.DMF

        Oh this little known Swedish band.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Must not be a metal band or I would have heard of them.

          • basenjibrian

            Better to review Bieber. Less boring.

          • Reese Burns

            Let’s be civil here!

          • basenjibrian


          • The Nerd.DMF

            Ok that’s a low blow.

          • Ouch dude (but so true)

          • The Nerd.DMF


          • André Snyde Lopes


          • chitownproud85


          • The Unicorn

            Br00tal h0nesty.

    • Kalsten

      Why Opeth? I am still looking for the new Hannes Grossmann review!

      • The Nerd.DMF

        Opeth is one of my favorite bands

      • Diego Molero

        Great album. What do you think of it? The Radial Covenant or The Crypts of Sleep?

        • Kalsten

          I don’t have an opinion yet. Both albums are great, but I have not listened to the new one too much, just a couple of spins. But so far, I am loving it :)

          • Diego Molero

            Same here. I LOVE The Radial Covenant, and so far I really like the new one, but I have yet to form a complete opinion, but I’m pretty sure it will be AOTY material.

  • GardensTale

    I’m just glad they no longer have any explicit lyrics, considering the absence of the Parental Advisory sticker. Now I can let my future children listen to Noctem without tainting their childhood innocence!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier


  • brutal_sushi

    I love how I scrolled down quickly and saw the band pic and was like “Septicflesh better be in the tags” thanks Doc!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Yeah, it’s a requirement.

    • Adjudant

      Poor lads need to stand closer to their shavers

  • Ultor_IVXLCQ

    Ересь – Жестокосердие (2016) – Alot more Grgrth and dam good guitar players as well. check the vocals…. this guy just grumbles or is he roaming in russian???