Nocturno Culto’s Gift of Gods – Receive – Peaceville – Release 28-10-2013

Nocturno Culto’s Gift of Gods – Receive – Peaceville – Release 28-10-2013

Ted Skjellum, also known as Nocturno Culto, has been a busy man this year. After having released “The Underground Resistance” with Darkthrone earlier this year, it is time to release his first solo (mini-)album. This can truly be called a solo-album for Ted has done all the work himself; drums, guitars, bass guitar, vocals and even recording the whole thing, only turning to Jack Control (who was also responsible for Darkthrone’s latest album) for the mixing and mastering.


Gift of the Gods is
Ted “Nocturno Culto” Skjellum – guitars, bass guitars, vocals, drums.

gift_of_gods-receiveA lonely owl is all that welcomes us into the silent night. Soon it is joined by its kin and we hear a slowly rising sound coming upon us. It rises in intensity and volume. It rises and rises. Then all is silent, not a sound to be heard but the receding echoes, leaving us to wait for what’s coming. What greets us is a fistful of dark and heavy metal, straight from the 80s. Old school heavy metal; dark and raw, of the type that was all about evil and the occult, rather than flexing muscles and drinking beer. “Enlightning Strikes”, indeed! Headbangworthy from the get-go with its midtempo riffing, it will be hard to sit still when the song is playing. While I’m not really a fan of Ted’s singing, which has a less raw edge to it than on Darkthrone’s latest album, it does fit the mood that this mini-album is laying down. The drums and bass guitar are rather simple, but completely serviceable, with all the focus of song writing having gone into the guitars. Nearing the end of the song we are treated to a doom metal inspired loneliness in the sound before heading into a faster melancholic tune with the lead guitar taking you along a final journey into a fade-out that makes you want to turn the volume all the way up.

“Receive” goes for the typical ‘evil’ sound of certain 80s heavy/thrash metal bands. Purely an instrumental, this one speeds up the tempo a bit now and then, with solos that give it a haunting vibe, like some 80s horror flick. Due to the lack of vocals the song does to drag on a bit with too much repetition. There’s some nice riffing going on, but too much repetition breaks the enjoyment.

Probably no one remembers the Swedish band Universe from the 80s, so Ted apparently thought it worth it to put these guys in the spotlight again by adding a cover of “Looking for an Answer”. While it fits the whole 80s heavy metal sound, it’s quite upbeat and ‘positive’ and that does tear apart the atmosphere he had going on with the previous two songs. In that regard it probably would have been better to include it on a full album as a bonus song or give it a darker and rawer sound. Or perhaps not bother at all.

“Last Solstice” nearly has me confusing it for a reworking of Metallica’s Orion at first, with added vocals. After that it goes for the more upbeat sound like the previous one, again leaving me to wonder why. Luckily it does return to a heavier sound, even dipping into a slightly doom metal laden sound about halfway. I doubt whether this could be called a tribute to the song or ripping off, yet I enjoyed it.

If you like to take a trip back to the 80s now and then you might like this mini-album, though you’d probably disregard the cover song. The songs are quite simple, yet have a certain catchiness to them. On the other hand, it’s not really anything you haven’t heard before and you would probably be better off getting the original 80s heroes.

Track list:

  1. Enlightning Strikes
  2. Receive
  3. Looking for an Answer (Universe cover)
  4. Last Solstice

Score: 3 out of 5

Tekst Robert popovic

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