(Self Mutilation Services 2014)
8/10 – Review by A. Mikonmäki
Austrian (Viennese) Stormnatt has apparently released it’s first demo in 2003, so they are not totally new to the BM-world, and neither is their style of “spiritual”, raw but quite melodic BM. It seems they have used the religious and occult themes (which have become quite the trend in todays BM) on their previous two full-lenghts, and on this path they continue on this their latest offering.
From the beginning of the first song “Ascension Of The Scarlett Angel” we get a feeling of a more traditional oriented approach to this kind of BM we have received before from bands like Funeral Mist, Watain, Katharsis and so on, but we soon realize there is more at work here.
The riffs Stormnatt veils us with are quite beautiful, melancholic and surprisingly melodic in nature, bringing to mind nineties BM. The first albums of Gorgoroth come to my mind on the more simple parts, but the writing of the man responsible for the riffs is usually more original than that. The guitar and bass work is skillfully crafted and performed throughout the album.
The drum work is also good and holds together, and sometimes even tries something a bit different like using a tom-driven part or beats with a bit more progressive and jamming touch into them, taking the feeling a bit away from traditional BM.
The vocals are done really nicely, the vocalist has a good voice, which sounds outerworldly and evil without too much (if any) effects. It sounds like he is actually singing more than just screaming, although the performance is quite monotonous in a good way, giving us small emphasised moments here and there which keeps things interesting. Also good sounding spoken parts can be heard on the song “Deathmagick”.
The sounds are in my ear cold and warm at the same time. Sometimes the guitar sound could be a more distorted and raw, but this is a small “fault” in these otherwise quite professional soundscapes. Although most people listening to BM might not give a fuck about sounds, in my opinion the musical talent of Stormnatt deserves a good sound, and this album is a nice trip to take soundwise.
The music keeps pretty much in the same vein throughout the whole album, and no clear highlights rise during the first listens, but this does not mean the album is boring, on the contrary. In todays BM-world filled with bands with this sounding occult approach, Stormnatt gives us something a bit different in a positive way, but I would love to see them progress even a bit more, for they are clearly skilled enough to distance themselves from the mediocre sea of these kind of bands, without selling out or anything like that. There are few things more spiritual or magical than creativity!
If the music needs to be compared to some more known band in this genre (because of their visual and lyrical approach), I would choose Ascension because of Stormnatt’s diversity and melody in compositions, quality in vocals, as well as different themes in the songs, but this band is not just another Ascension copy. Nevertheless, if you like the bands mentioned in this review, you should definitely check out Stormnatt with this their latest release, and perhaps take a look at their back catalog as well!