Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Review: Merciful Nuns - 'Goetia V'

'Goetia V'

Artaud Seth and his Merciful Nuns seem to be on a relentless quest to flood the world with their own brand of retro-chic gothic rock. The band's output since its inception has been nothing short of prolific with a five albums and four EPs to their name since 2010's début 'Liber 1'. Now hot on the heels of last November's 'Goetia IV' comes the follow-up 'Goetia V'. Anyone would think the band are in danger of burning out. However they still reserve the right to play a card or two from up their collective sleeves.

'Goetia V' compared to it's predecessor is a very introverted affair. Whereas the previous saw the band in full on cult-gothic rock pomp and ceremony, 'Goetia V' instead revolves around a more dark ambient axis. The atmosphere is instantly recognisable as the Nuns with it's cavernous scope. But the guitars, drums and bass take more of a back seat than usual. In their place, the baritone voice of Seth is joined by more prominent droning synthesizers, ethereal samples and haunting pianos. The album does have it's rockier moments but they are for the most part more subtle, save for 'The Maelstrom' which hangs on to it's driving beat.
Though the album tips things in favour of the band's progressively orientated side, long-time fans of the band will have no trouble digesting tracks such as the excellent three-part movement that is comprised of 'Dark Water', 'The Lake' and 'Wailing Wall' or the nine-minute finale of 'Resting Deep Under Dark Water'. What lies between though is still a very cohesive and catchy collection of songs that doesn't once betray the quick turnaround between albums.

With each album the band get more self-assured with their vision as well as their execution. Their penchant for interesting, mystical and progressive music has put them on the international map and, despite their rabid release schedule, they are still finding new ways to shake-up their sound. It will be interesting to see what other tricks the Nuns have in store.

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