Nominon – Monumentomb Review

Nominon // Monumentomb
Rating: 3.0/5.0 —Classic death metal. Maybe a little too classic…
Label: Deathgasm Records
Websites: |
Release Date: Out Now Worldwide (on tour July 2010 in the US)!

It is a bit odd that I haven’t heard Sweden’s Nominom. They’ve been around since 1993, when I was just a wee metal lad, discovering the merits of Carcass, Brutal Truth, and their ilk. And while perhaps the name was heard in the venerable annals of metal, it is not recalled by this metallion. The ranks of metal run deep, however, so it is not a big surprise. Just in recent years I discovered the intense and ever-evolving Immolation, so there’s always a wealth of metal to discover, and new interpretations of heavy to be explored, to make me forget I have tinnitus before I go to sleep.

Nominon, who’s name I keep spelling with one too many m’s and one too few n’s (and have some trouble pronouncing), is a very traditional death metal band, from what is gathered on their new release, the aptly titled Monumentomb. My first reaction was thus: the guttural utterances were quite clear and up front in the mix for the established genre which they cling to with a cold, yet deathly firm grip. Off the top of my skull, or perhaps more correctly stated, brain, I hear some David Vincent influence in the vocalizations. The level of clarity is there, so that you can actually hear what he is saying, and vocalist Henke Skoog definitely has some death metal forces going on behind his breath. But for this metal guy’s ears, it would be more effective buried in the mix, letting drummer Perra Karlsson and the rest of the band shine.

The band waste no time assaulting the listener with a bevy of hooked riffs, the usual lightning fast drums, and tight rhythms. The first track, “Mantra Reverse,” even has a nice breakdown in the middle of the song to catch one off guard, and throw in a Meshuggah-like atmospheric, slow, dark sounding guitar part. After that though, things are pretty standard fare, except for the captivating use of phasers or some such modulator on the drums during the second track, “Archfiend.” Things don’t really pick up until the fourth and fifth tracks, “Kevorkian Exit” and “Omen,” which are the strongest tracks on the album. On “Mountain of Hate,” the hooks become even more barbed and deliberate, drawing you into their undead realm.

However, on “Worm,” I am reminded why I am not quite sold on this album: the vocals are just too damn loud and above the mix. Not only does it take away from the overall performances, but considering the style, having a more gritty production would seem to be more appropriate. However, the album evens out after this with the tracks “Worship” and “Wrath of Shiva”, which features a different vocalist to start the song. “Wrath of Shiva” has some great riffs, a very cool abrupt ending and cool lyrics, making it the perfect closer for this album. And hell, what more could you want from death metal?

Basically, the only things holding me back about this album is it could be a little more innovative, and that the album is just too polished. The songwriting is concise, the album blows by and doesn’t get boring for the most part, but it’s all a little too formulaic. That said, this is a very good death metal album, and should be heard by genre aficionados. It’s just not going to bring in a ton of new fans, make many year-end lists, or reinvent any rules, but that’s probably how they like it.

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