Norot’s “Nathrach” Review + Stream
Throwing the word occult around has become trite. It’s often used in association with artists who don’t know the Black Sun from the Golden Dawn. When an project like Norot writes an album that explores the serpent archetype and it’s relation to the gnosis, it’s fair to say the term occult applies. The mastermind behind this project is artist Robert Cook. The sounds Cook calls forth are the sonic equivalent of his nefarious artwork. From the beginning, the album is filled with atmospheric interludes. Not to fear – some pretty convincing black metal is belched forth as well. It is not dependent on blast beats, but knows how to use them effectively while retaining a solid melodic base of dynamics. The tortured croak of the vocals narrates the slither into the abyss this exploration takes you on. Deliciously dissonant, yet unapologetic in it’s dark melodic nature, Norot is not afraid to let actual singing seep into the cracks.
Nathrach is a mix of concisely written black metal and excursions into the darker, dreamlike alley the album turns down in it’s second half. Faint melodies play against thick coats of subterranean atmosphere. The journey going deeper into a cavernous level of murky sonics. The vocals growl and gurgle up from the distant pits. The hypnotic throb takes a much lower frequency. Swells of feedback and distortion growl like thunder, but never bring the storm. This album continually crosses boundaries, as the beginning of the song “Lunar Acendant” floats into a more soaring tribal pound, that could double as an intro to a Fields of the Nephilim song. The vocals even take the same lower raspy cadence of Carl McCoy’s trademark growl.
Cook has perfected the dark metal guitar tone in a way that makes his indulgent drifts off into his nightmare world forgivable. The second half of the album is a perfect atmospheric soundtrack to worship snake gods too. This album gives you a taste of what Cook is capable of, and ensures you will want to keep your ears out for what this guy does next.