Gift Of Gods   

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Peaceville Records 2013

Nocturno Culto of Darkthrone has taken his skills and abilities off onto his own project outside of the framework of Darkthrone.  So how does this material stand on its own?  Discordant notes open to groove-laden riffs on the albums initial track, Enlightening Strikes.  Determined riffs and gruff vocals contribute to the dirty, yet epic feel of the song.  There are echoes of Darkthrone, but Gift Of Gods has a more formal approach to the songwriting in my ears.  After minutes of groovy blackened metal, the music takes a more mournful tone and drifts into emotional zones with its somber melodic edge.  The insistent instrumental and title-track pushes sawing riffs with a somber, epic atmosphere down your throat.  The third track is a cover of Universe's Looking For An Answer.  And I feel this is a perfect song to frame the tracks from Nocturno on this album.  It is a more expansive and freer song than what he has contributed as of late with Darkthrone and therein lies the key to viewing the rest of the tracks on this MLP.  This is blackened traditional metal and Nocturno has taken Universe's ooooold song and roughened it up a bit with rusty edges and an organic approach while clinging to the track's epic and proggy style.  The final track, Last Solstice, is a meaty, trudging track.  The ropey bass guitar and near melodic stomp plunges the listener into a muddy tomb.  The track has an almost gothic feel to its execution and it seems to yearn for something as of yet unfulfilled.  Gift Of Gods definitely leans towards Nocturno's recent contributions on Darkthrone's albums, however with a more expansive and less restrained feel to the songwriting.  Nocturno Culto's songs breathe more freely and push more at breaking down the walls while still remaining true to his style.  This is gritty and earthy blackened metal that reaches towards ancient and organic realms.  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for fans of Nocturno's recent excursions with Darkthrone, however be prepared for some looser and more epic songwriting.