Numenorean - HomeThere’s no winning here. No matter how I start this review, it’s inevitably going to be overshadowed by the fact that there’s a picture of a dead baby sitting right next to this paragraph. Numenorean try to rationalize their artwork by explaining that it represents the album’s concept of loss and ‘longing for what humans will never achieve,’ which may be the ‘innocence of a child,’ and that child is freed from ever experiencing the ‘pain and sorrow’ of adulthood because death – blah blah blah. Look, I have no problem with pretentious concepts in post-black metal, but trying to justify your dead baby artwork is like saying you weren’t cheating on your girlfriend, you just tripped and fell on top of her roommate while you were naked. It’s a losing game, and rather than getting caught in it, let’s just move on and focus on Home’s music instead.

But instead of a dull description of the five tracks and 44 minutes of Fen-like black metal on this Canadian quintet’s debut, let’s do something else. Take out a blank sheet of paper, draw a five-by-five square grid, and write one post-black cliche in each square. Ready? Good, because it’s time for POST-BLACK BINGO! Pressing play: ambient intro followed by Alcesty clean picking! Sudden eruption of whooshing guitars! Faint, echoey rasping! Shoehorned acoustic sections with distant screaming in the background! Soft parts with ample delay-pedal effects! Impending blastbeat fade-ins! ‘Ooohing’ female vocals! Obligatory mid-album instrumental! Piercing leads and shoegazey melodies! Post-rock interludes that abruptly explode into blasting! Esoteric personal lyrics with at least one mention of the ocean! And finally, false endings that lead to another three minutes of acoustic noodling and one last surge of wavering riffs before the end! Congratulations to the winner and sorry for whoever put ‘awkward spoken word section’ in their center block [Loser!Steel Bingo].

But despite the fact that Home harvests nearly every post-black trope from Agalloch to Addaura, it’s not altogether a bad record. Penultimate track “Devour” in particular showcases some excellent melodies and guitar-work: the fuzzy lead about 8 minutes in is downright lovely, as is the rapidly picked, reverb-soaked riff at about 90 seconds (though I swear I’ve heard it somewhere before). Likewise, instrumental “Shoreless” features pleasantly reflective, Pale Folklore-esque clean picking, while “Thirst” introduces a terrific Panopticon-esque riff in its back half. To match the mood, the guitarists use a host of different tones, from silky smooth to fuzzy and distorted, reverb-soaked to glassy and clear. With all five members contributing vocals, there’s plenty of diversity there as well, from rasps, deep bellows, distant wordless screams, and even what sounds like coughing at one point.

Numenorean - 2016

That said, while some moments make Home feel like it could have been the best post-black record of 2016, at times it feels like Numenorean are trying to cobble together too many ideas for their own good. The opening title track feels particularly disjointed, flip-flopping between acoustic ambiance and black metal blasting no less than five times throughout its 9 minute runtime – the result being, of course, that all those good ideas mean little when they don’t have time to grow or breathe. Closer “Laid Down” suffers from similar songwriting A.D.D., albeit to a lesser degree, and while the other songs fare better, it doesn’t help that some of the guitar-work – particularly the cleanly-picked sections – sound like the slightest variations on melodies we’ve all heard before in this subgenre.

But ultimately, my biggest gripe with Home is that it comes across as emotionally overwrought, even cheesy at times, and seems a bit disingenuous in the way it cherry picks from superior albums. While a surprisingly riffy and spontaneous record for the genre, that actually works to its detriment, as Home is often unable to hammer its abundance of ideas into fully cohesive, enjoyable compositions. Even the production – while nicely layering the hazy guitars and crisp drumming – is pretty well smooshed. Sure, it’s a pleasant overall listen, even stellar at points, but in the end this is an example of a tiny blip in an overcrowded scene that will probably not be remembered at year’s end, only to be rediscovered and heralded as a forgotten classic when Dying Fetus is playing on classic rock radio in 20 years.1 Until then, all but post-black diehards and rabid Deafheaven fanboys are advised to proceed with caution.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: facebook.com/NumenoreanOfficial | numenorean.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: July 22nd, 2016

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  • André Snyde Lopes

    Careful on that edge guys.

    Also, let’s not gloss over the fact that it says McDonald on the bottom. I’ve always wondered how they made such tasty burgers…

    • Alexandre Barata

      The tenderest meat, and after 48 stabs it was already grinded.

      • Felchmeister666

        Cunt…

        • Alexandre Barata

          Thank you, sir

  • Antorus

    Let’s get that baby on the front page! Album of the month!

    Just kidding, please don’t. I really like visiting your site.

    • One More Thing

      I’d legit have to stay away for the next month and a half until it got changed.

  • brutal_sushi

    The embedded track is pretty ok… But I cant get past that image of the dead little girl. Maybe because my daughter looks like her, and is around the same age. Am I just getting soft in my old age?!

    • Nah, I don’t have kids and it bothers me too.

    • tomasjacobi

      No, you’re not getting soft. I can stomach almost any amount of gore and graphic violence but just the thought of dead children make me nauseous.

    • Ditto

  • AndySynn

    I’m a big fan of the whole “Post Black”… thing (though it could do with a better name. And “Blackgaze” doesn’t cut it)… but this one isn’t doing it for me.

    The cover doesn’t bother me however. Partially because I don’t care for kids in general, and partially because I am simply the edgiest to ever edge.

    • If that was a hunk of tofu with a cigarette in it you’d lose your mind though, wouldn’t you?!

      • AndySynn

        How do you already have the new Deafheaven album???

        • I have deep ties to the vegan hipster sourdough underground of Brooklyn.

          • AndySynn

            Sourdough Justice Warrior!

  • El Lado Oscuro

    At the risk of being labeled (which you can wait to watch me care about) I think they exceed the boundaries of freedom to speech, much less good taste, with the depiction of a little girl cover in blood (sleeping, I guess)… not gonna hear this crap

  • aaron bergman

    Aside from the fact that I am a father of daughters, the picture is a cheap way of getting an emotional reaction, without having to do any hard work. There is no way I will waste my time with this one.

    • Hammersmith

      Incredibly tasteless IMO. I will also be skipping this.

    • David Kosmak

      Eh, whatever. This kind of stuff does happen in real life, you get that, right? Besides, it’s not like it’s even a realistic photo of a dead child; just looks like some paint smeared on a living child* and then put through about five different Photoshop brushes. Not well-done artwork, though I suppose it goes along with their self-proclaimed themes of death of innocence and whatnot.

      I’m far more offended by their godawful logo. With so many great, intricate metal logos out there, when are bands going to realize that simply taking the word in a normal-looking, legible typset and then adding tons of squiggles/branches/splatters/whatever is not gonna fly? Come on, y’all.

      *EDIT: Nope, apparently it’s a crime scene photo of the very dead Colette MacDonald. Photoshop brushes on it still look like garbage, though, that’s probably why.

      • Felchmeister666

        How’s that autism working out for you..

      • eloli

        GO FUCK YOURSELF AND NEVER COME TO THIS SITE AGAIN, MOUTH BREATHING PIECE OF SHIT.
        FUCK YOU.

      • herrschobel

        fool

  • El_Cuervo

    The art doesn’t phase me to be honest. Is it really any worse than Dawn of the Black Hearts? Or any other death metal art which depicts hideous violence?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Have a kid and I bet it will.

      • El_Cuervo

        children are for old fogeys oldie

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Listen to me, son! Oh shit… there I go again.

      • Tim Daniel

        Exactly!

    • William Hebblewhite

      I would assume that people would have similar reactions to ‘Dawn of the Black Hearts’, it isn’t necessarily that it doesn’t phase me, or that I’m deeply affected by it. It’s just bad taste with no discernible value than to provide some type of “shock treatment”. Putting aside the pseudo-rationalization for its use, it feels that it was aimed at those 16 year old Goth kids who are all like “Yea Suffering is cool, Life is meaningless” shit; the people who read 1 page of Nietzsche and felt they knew everything.

      Both album covers are shitty. They are shitty for moral reasons, they are shitty for aesthetic reasons. It isn’t some cover that explores the deeper meaning of aesthetic value, it’s just a dead kid…and what value does a dead kid have for a post-black album, other than having some egotistical “We’re pushing boundaries” bullshit.

    • André Snyde Lopes

      Or Rammstein’s Mutter. Literally the exact same thing. I am personally not offended or whatever but all of these are definitely unnecessary.

      Other death metal albums depict violence upon fictional (often cartoony) characters. Profiting of someone else’s death should be reserved for funeral services.

      • Alexandre Barata

        Or Anthony Jeselnik’s “Shark Party”

    • Felchmeister666

      Context man. The former was a crappy quality image of a dead guy. It was distasteful and graphic, but there’s a DISTINCT difference, inherently, between the sight of a grown man ‘murdered’ and one of an innocent little dead girl.

      Doesn’t need explaining beyond that either really. If you don’t see the difference then, respectfully, I question the goodness of your soul…

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    Cheap, hack, and dumb, both cover and music. If a band is going to make a strongly disturbing visual statement with an album cover, they should at least make said album’s musical statement something beyond “I really want to open for Deafheaven in NYC one day”. As always though, excellent review Mark.

    • tim.o

      My thoughts exactly as far as the cover is concerned. Won’t even bother with the music.

  • tim.o

    Hm,… this surely is some “interesting” artwork. My immediate reaction within the first few seconds after the page fully loaded was that of disgust; but it passed after I had a chance to examine it closer; and after reading Mr. Z’s excellent review. Thanks for keeping it light Mr. Z.

    Now I just think it’s incredibly *lame*, especially given the bands explanation of what the album art may symbolize. I think there’s a complete disconnect between their stated concept and the image.

    Secondly, if you chose a “dead child” as your album artwork, please make it count. Maybe your concept album should thematically address issues of child abuse and exploitation? If you use bold, provocative images, your concept should follow suit. It should not be some wishy washy nonsense.

    Thirdly, what am I really looking at here? The child lost a viscous battle with a strawberry sandwich and fell asleep afterwards on a sugar high, clearly in sweet slumber, whilst dreaming of strawberry hills forever, covered in sweet berry juices. Or is it a snapshot of a photo transfer place-mat with droppings of ketchup all over? Or maybe finger-paint? *LAME*

    Here’s a thought. Maybe the album art represents the concept of what innocence may look like after being dragged by its hairs by a band trying to explain its pretentious concept album.

    • Now THAT’S a comment!

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      That last paragraph is art. Not in the “I put a dead child on the front of my record of me screaming over my The Cure cover band’s tunes” way either; in the good way.

    • aaron bergman

      This is a picture of Jeffrey MacDonald’s murdered daughter Collette. Beyond reprehensible that they would use it.

      • David Kosmak

        This appears to be correct.

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        Yep it’s both mind blowing in it’s arrogance and stupidity.

      • tim.o

        Utterly Unbelievable!

      • Alexandre Barata

        Well I give this to the band, or any band at all: If the photo isn’t copyrighted or they bought the copyrights they have the right to use it. They could put a photo of a panda on a stick.
        It’s still sad that a band has to resort to this kind of gimmicks to get some recognition. And they will be known simply as the band of dicks that put a dead kid on the cover to sell a couple more copies to the angst teens.

  • Stefunal

    Somehow the band name and the album cover don’t go together at all. I mean, if I see a band have call themselves anything even remotely related to Numenor I assume it’s something about Lord of the Rings, not oceans and dead little girls.

  • Why is post-black so underrated in AMG? from whre I sit it gets a 3 at least

    • Felchmeister666

      Where you’re sitting must be a long, long way away from the speakers then…

  • hallowed

    What was actually wrong with black metal in the first place that they had go and make it post-black?

    • hubcapiv

      Not enough dead babies, it would seem.

  • Felchmeister666

    Without wanting to sound like a prude, this band can go fuck themselves for this cover ‘art’.

    Whatever context they feel justified it, I call bullshit. It’s bad taste, full stop.

  • mtlman1990

    Dead babies= cool. Dead children= lame

  • sir_c

    It is trying to be disturbing in the most adolescent way. There is zero context, I see no clues, just that it looks like a dead child.

    I can’t even be bothered to get emotional about this and I just move on. Next!

  • One More Thing

    I really can’t stomach that image at all. It really caught me off guard when I first saw it and, Mark, while I really appreciated your words in this review (especially the opening paragraph) as they were very insightful, none it matters because the artwork completely deters me from listening to the band. Even if I were to like the music, I’d have to see that image every time a track came up on my phone or computer, so it’s DOA for me. I know it’s supposed to be more about the music but that image really fucks with my mind.

  • JL

    stupid album cover but i do like the music

  • Monsterth Goatom

    I set my browser to block the image because I hate to see it when I visit the site. I’m against censorship, but this isn’t art.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      How do you do that?

      • SegaGenitals

        Mind telling me how to block a specific image? I read this site a lot, and refuse to have to scroll quickly past this one.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        I should have been more specific. I do it through the Adblock Plus extension on Firefox. Right-click on image and select Block Image. I had to do it in two places: on the main page, and then on the actual review. Not sure how to block in on mobile devices.

  • SegaGenitals

    What fuck-tarded ass clown thought that cover was remotely acceptable? I find it to be exploitive grief-porn, puerile, and without a modicum of class.

    • David Kosmak

      On the other hand, variations on the R-slur are always SUPER classy and acceptable.

      • SegaGenitals

        Did I put a fuck-tard on an album cover?

      • eloli

        GO FUCK YOURSELF AND NEVER COME TO THIS SITE AGAIN, MOUTH BREATHING PIECE OF SHIT.

  • Tim Daniel

    Agree with commenter that this image is a cheap way of attempting to gain attention through a horrifyingly disgusting image of a child. Pass; not creative at all.

  • Vice-President of Hell

    i simply do not want to listen an album with a FUCKING DEAD BABY ON A COVER (or a fat naked decapitated man or a black metal norwegian guy who blew up his head). i have enough gory and morbid images on my cigarettes packs

  • Chris

    Add me to the group of fathers with daughters who finds that cover art a pathetic attempt at shock value.

    This could be the greatest metal album to ever metal (which it sounds like it’s not), but there’s no way I’d give it a listen because of that bullshit cover art. Fuck these clowns.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    A warning would’ve been good with that cover…
    It’s an album cover that only a special sort of weeping arsehole would think a good idea.
    I pity you having to read that drivel about lost innocence. One can only presume that the clown that wrote that and made this ‘art’ isn’t making music with listening to.

  • Alexandre Barata

    The only way for this cover to be edgier (in a “look at me, I laugh at the pictures of dead kids” kind of way) would be to have a dead child and a pedophyle. I won’t say this out loud, because the band could pick up my hint.

    Musically it’s an ok album, but nothing groundbreaking. It’s a fine listen, but probably won’t have a replay. At least it’s not a Dead Baby cover on a Deathcore album (the pre-teens that would buy it would be really impressed with that)

  • Iwein Denayer

    I’ve only heard snippets of the Numenorean 2014 demo. I like what i heard there. So, i’ll listen to this album for sure. Some comments here are kinda sad. It’s pretty shallow to decide not to listen to music, based on a review and an album cover. The same shallowness you reproach Numenorean with.

    • Scourge

      It’s actually entirely justifiable to have principles that allow you to make decisions based on others decisions. A band decided to put an actual picture of a semi nude murdered toddler on the front of their album. People decided not to support or listen to them because of it. To add insult to injury, the band tried to explain it in a way that made them sound like pseudo-intellectual douchebags, further alienating potential listeners.

      People decide not to listen to bands/music for a variety of reasons every day. These particular reasons are actually more warranted than most, so I have no idea where you’re coming from.

    • Felchmeister666

      What a surprise, the one asshole in this discussion just so happens to like this mediocre, boring music as well..(!)

      Shit attracts flies n’ all that..

      As an aside, it’s completely normal to ignore any ‘artist’ who uses imagery like this on their album. Why? Because it indicates that the ‘artist’ is a fucking twat, that’s why. Therefore, it is a very safe assumption that their ‘art’ will be similarly immature and shitty.

      This theory can be proven by pressing play on the album stream above: it is immature, shitty & clearly written by a twat…

      • Iwein Denayer

        My god. It’s worse than I thought.

        • Felchmeister666

          What, your taste in music or your irrationality..(?)

  • Not bothered by the image and the song is ok, but then I visited their bandcamp page and read the description and was turned off by the pseudo-intellectual blather. Fools! NEVER EXPLAIN YOUR ART.

  • Grymm

    This sounds like I’ve heard this all before.

    Also, fuck off with that album cover, guys.

  • Felchmeister666

    It’s just bad taste, in a world where there’s already far too much of it.

    Why does it provoke a particularly focussed backlash here? I can only speak for myself, but I visit this site for escapism, not to suddenly have an image like that thrust upon me.

    But yes, ‘you’re right’, it’s nothing we’ve not seen before. In fact, if you can get to ten years old without seeing vile, distasteful stuff like this these days I’d be amazed. Way of the world…

    Which, again, is another source of my anger at this peurile shit.

    Add to that the fact this band suck…& there’s far too much fucking mediocrity in this world as it is.

    This has layers…

  • pfk505

    Its monumentally stupid to use that image as your cover, but I could get past it if their music was any good. Its not. I saw them live a few weeks ago and they were ok, I guess. Post-black metal which fits neither the band’s name nor its updated, edgy aesthetic? no thanks.

  • eloli

    Dude, stop acting like an absolute dick, not only you’re defending this shit, you also have the nerve to minimize the real issue, bitch about a stupid logo, post a morbid crime scene photo site and say “I’m a fahter myself”.
    GO FUCK YOURSELF.
    What are you, some kind of psychopath or just a barely functioning aspie who uses his disability to justify acting like an asshole?
    THAT FUCKING PHOTO IS REAL, YOU MOTHERFUCKING PSYCHOPATIC MOUTH BREATHING PIECE OF SHIT!
    DON’T YOU GET IT?
    Only a complete fucking idiot idiot can buy the “artist’s” explanation.
    This reminds me of that movie, A Serbian Film.
    The author gave some long winded explanation about how his movie was not about being as tasteless and offensive as you can be, but some metaphor about Serbia as a nation.
    Bullshit, you can’t get metaphorical when you show a guy fucking a newborn to death or sex with a decapitated corpse on camera.
    That movie was simply about being shocking and making money from controversy, it didn’t work, and nor does this album cover.
    Let’s call a spade a spade for a minute here.
    This artwork is a piece of tasteless shit, at best, a publicity stunt made by a bunch of morons gone horribly wrong.
    Sorry, but no one who’s had children (I have two daughters, btw, 3 and 5) can actually defend that cover as an artistic statement, are you fro real?
    The fact that real life is horrifying doesn’t make putting a fucking dead toddler old on an album cover ok in any scenario, and it’s even worse having morons like you making all this even more moron and embarrassing.
    Fuck you, let’s hope we never meet in real life… not that I would hurt you or hit you, mind you, but I find you so reprehensible as a human being that I wouldn’t stand talking to you face to face.
    Again, fuck you, and have a really bad day.

  • DeadHead

    Ehh it’s a shit cover but I liked the music. I’m all for having standards and whatnot but unless these guys condone some extreme ideas, ie murder (I’m looking at you Borknagar and Burzum) Ill listen to the music and manage to look past the terrible cover.

  • I hate children and people in general, this picture is perfect, especially in black metal. If you have something against this picture, than you don’t see the essence of BM, which is misanthropy. People should go extinct.
    I agree with their ideology present in the explanation, but I interpret photo in different way, which is said above.