Light of the Morning Star are a black metal/goth rock hybrid with an occult theme from London. This is the work of a mysterious being known only as O-A. They first came on the scene with their 3-track EP from Iron Bonehead Productions known as Cemetery Glow (check out this review of it last year by Sypros). Now the same record company brings us their highly anticipated debut LP known as Nocta. While some might call LotMS a black metal band, they really do combine a lot of darkwave, doom, and even deathrock elements to it.
When I first heard the track “Nocta” which premiered before the rest of the album, I knew I was going to love this despite not being much of a metalhead. It opens with a slow piano line before the rest of the instruments strike in. The vocals are not fierce and screaming, but rather deep, dark, and chanting. It really has a romantic, gothic (perhaps even vampiric) feel to it without being corny, so to me it’s the perfect blend of goth rock and metal. It’s a truly badass song that pulls you in right away.
“Coffinwood” opens with one of the coolest guitar lines I’ve heard; actually I love every guitar line in this song. Like “Nocta,” this song has a great mix of electric and classical instrument sounds which give it a dar sophistication. The lyrics and mood definitely have a spooky/deathrock theme to them, pegging this as one of my favorite tracks on the album. The first uptempo song on Nocta is the third track “Serpent Lanterns”, another favorite of mine. The vocals on this one are sinister, echoing whispers. The piano and guitar are particularly catchy; I could see this being played at clubs. There are high and low points throughout the song I can imagine people swaying to.
The next song, “Grey Carriages” starts out with a sad, slow, mellow guitar that keeps echoing off into silence before the next line. Suddenly, the rest of the instruments rush in intensely over vocals that match that sad opening guitar line. The contrast between loud badassery and depressing despair gives it something real and relatable. “Crescentlight” crashes in immediately with another uptempo beat like “Serpent Lanterns” and some notably amazing drumming. The piano in this is some of my favorite on the album. This song gets slower and slower as it progresses, eventually fading into the shadows.
“Oleander Halo” kicks the second half of the album off with a truly epic sound; this is easily another song I would pick out for someone new to the band. There’s such a dark, powerful atmosphere about it, it feels like an anthem. This particular track is also a little less on the metal spectrum and more on the darkwave side of things, really showing off their occult vibe. “Ophidian” is a faster paced song that also borders on darkwave. It manages to be fairly danceable with unrelenting energy. The bass lines are notably fun in this one.
“Lord of All Graves” is easily one of the darkest, scariest tracks on the album. The vocals fluctuate between haunting whispers and deep chants and the guitar lines feel very ominous throughout the whole song. I especially love the way the guitar escalates over steady drums as it finishes out. Nocta finishes out with “Five Point Star” which has my favorite melodic vocal work on the whole album. It has such a boldly spooky vibe about it, and the pre-chorus is just beautiful. Both the guitar and bass lines are great on this song, working together to create something you don’t expect to hear in black metal. It’s such a great highlight to Nocta and completes the album well, leaving you begging for more.