I picked Nubivagant’s debut Roaring Eye from the promo list, because the first glimpse at a random sound sample had me immediately interested: atmospheric black metal as the backdrop for a clean, haunting vocal performance with a great timbre that is very much non-metal. Now that’s something I don’t hear everyday – let’s dive in.
Nubivagant is the latest project of Omega, who has quite a list of metal projects under his belt. Metal-archives counts 9 different projects under his past endeavors, and whopping 13 different projects where he seems to be currently active. In most of those, his main weapon of choice seems to be the drums, followed on second place by vocal duties. In Nubivagant, he takes care of everything.
The songwriting is interesting. The riffs are simple and monotonous, and endlessly repeated. Similarely, the drums beat on in relentless, steady grooves, with a few transitional fills. This instrumental landscape lulls the listener into a hypnotic state, and works as the canvas on which Omega can paint with his melancholic, deathrock-like vocals. And the vocals are definitely the selling point here. Omega has a very interesting voice, and his theatric delivery really works for me. However they are also the biggest potential weakness of Roaring Eye – when the vocals are the only thing to focus on, you tend to notice a lack of variety between songs. The rhythm and delivery of the vocal lines stay mostly the same throughout the 40 minutes of the record, leaving me a bit wanting for variety.
Overall this is an interesting approach to black metal, a nice experiment that I can see working. With the clean vocals and the general lack of agression Roaring Eye becomes a very melancholic experience. I can definitely see myself revisiting this album during times of especially somber moods. But it will probably not land on my heavy rotation list during summer. I definitely recommend every black metal fan check it out though – there’s something here, and I am interested to see where Omega will take Nubivagant with future releases.