Nostra Morte - Sin retorno 4.5/5

Reviewed: 10-1-12





Tracklist:

1. Sin retorno (video)
2. Sin retorno
3. Erick el rojo
4. La prision de los cien anos
5. Nova
6. Cuando la muerte se viste de Gloria
7. El llamado
8. Camino al jaguar
9. Requiem demort
10. El mas es mi dios
11. Persefone
12. El amo del reflejo
13. Pasion nocturna
14. Nova (Join me to dream)


Nostra Morte (“Our Death”) is a symphonic gothic metal band from Mexico and this is their 2nd studio CD, the title of which may be translated “No return”. They continue the epic symphonic/choral gothic metal of their debut, ‘Un cuento antes de morir’, but have made some interesting stylistic changes in most of the songs. They are still primarily driven by the guitars and drums, but this time out the guitars are generally clean and warm rather than hard and aggressive; the keys are still huge and symphonic, but now the addition of occasional strings and horns give the songs a more dramatic movie score feel. There are more lightly noodly power metal interludes, but they tend to be symphonic power metal rather than blackened power metal. The songs are almost relentlessly festive as well, so the overall impression is one of warm, upbeat, exhilarating enchantment, although there remain touches of their previous aggression.

Amazingly, the vocal performances are even stronger than on their debut. The male and female vocals are predominantly dramatic operatic baritone and soprano with exquisitely soaring vocal harmonies throughout; I would not be surprised to find out that at least a few of these singers are trained in classical opera, like Tarja Turunen, as they have that same confidence, voice control and breath-taking beauty. As before, the singing is nearly continual with the arrangements providing mostly a backdrop. There are some extreme vocals in the last few songs but they tend to be growls rather than the harsh black shrieks of their debut. All the songs are sung in Spanish except for the last one.

Though I loved ‘Un cuento antes de morir’, I have to say that almost everything about ‘Sin retorno’ is more mature and refined. Though for the most part it lacks the occasional aggression of their debut, the warmth of the arrangements is perfectly complemented by the astonishingly engaging operatic vocals, making for an extravagant theatrical metal performance. Though they still retain many elements of early After Forever and Epica, Nostra Morte are moving toward the more symphonic choral style of Therion or Haggard, although they are much warmer and more persistently upbeat and power metalish than those bands generally are.



CHRIS




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