Album Review: Order of Nosferat – The Absence of Grace


It’s a frosty one this morning. As I wake from my slumber and shuffle over to the boiling cauldron, dodging and weaving between the recently formed large icicles that hang from my cave ceiling like stalactites. These appear to be a new addition due to the deluge of rain the U.K. has experienced over the past



As I make my coffee and roll myself a cigarette, I shuffle to the mouth of my cave, sitting here I watch the light mist travel and float around. My feathery companion joins me, he relaxes in a deepened bundle of my robes as I smoke the last of my cigarette and drink my coffee. No sooner do we both relax my interweb goes off, it is a message from my good brother and evil cohort of the webzine I write for. As l read the message it would appear I am going to be reviewing the new Order of Nosferat album, “The Absence Of Grace”.  

As I look at my feathery friend I feel like he’s looking back at me as if to say do I have to? I send him on his way and start to light the wall sconces and the many candles that lay about my dwelling in order to generate some heat to rid my cave of these titan icicles. Hours pass and my feathery companion returns and drops in my hand a sketchy tape marked promo. I shuffle over to my writing slope and roll out the parchment.

As I slide the cassette into my Walkman that gets more gaffer tape on it by the day, it’s a wonder how it even still works. I have listened to Order of Nosferat on more than one occasion and have enjoyed their previous releases, with an arsenal of full-lengths under their belt very few demos and only one E.P. This band go straight for the jugular if you pardon the pun. So to have this opportunity to review their latest offering is a privilege. As I roll myself another cigarette, ink up my quill, and ready myself. I press play and get ready to sink what little teeth I have into this Vampyric-inspired dungeon synth B.M. Act.

Track one “Behold the Rising Horrors” is a musical intro, with mainly synth and bass drum or floor tom. It’s a soothing and relatively light piece definitely worthy of a film score, it actually sounds befitting to either resemble a sunset scene in a movie or even a sunrise. It is short however, it certainly sets the scene for the remaining tracks to come. I do feel this intro could’ve been a little longer as to really seep in and set the tone.

Track two “Floating with the Ravaged Ones” has track one’s synth bleed into the opening not before the guitars come grinding through. The synth again becomes more apparent in the first verse and makes a repeat appearance in the following verses. The vocals are rasping and from the throat. This is a slow affair with a simple rhythm. The guitars are extremely prominent along with the vocals. The drums are well situated within the mix however I do feel it hides the bass a little too much. I feel O.O.N. have changed things up since previous releases. At present the vocals are the most bitter and tortured feeling on this track at present. It is an extremely light-sounding track. However, at the midpoint, the track seems to shine with a slow yet melancholic sound as all the instruments reach a slightly dramatic scale. In the later verses, we start to get the tremolo guitar work that we are used to hearing. As the track comes to an end the track really lifts, the guitars come to a grinding finish and the deep resonating chords of the synth fade out perfectly. I feel that these deep chords would have been better suited throughout the whole track rather than the lighter ones they used. I feel this would’ve given the track a much more brooding atmosphere.

Track three “In This Solitude We Dwell” the sombre chords that played out are back in this track and this is what I’m here for. Those deep resonating notes fill my ears. Little sprinkles of light keys are present but they add just that extra layer that levels the atmosphere perfectly. As more sounds and notes are added the track takes on a new light before it starts to enter into track four.

Track four “Devoured By Lurking Shadows” picks up straight after track three. Again much like track two it is a slower affair, the synths give this track a much more medieval feel. I can’t seem to put my finger on the flow of these tracks they have a tendency to flit between different tempo changes and I’m not gonna pull punches on this but the switches between can sometimes feel a little clunky and not so thought out. There are moments where it changes from the ferocious B.M. Blast beats to that of the extremely light D.S. Sound. The vocals are again visceral and pain-stricken however I don’t feel they fit the style of the track at all. As I stated earlier there is something slightly amiss with these tracks so far and I can’t quite place just what it is. I am only four tracks in but I do feel it has been the instrumental tracks that have held my interest most. Of course, this happens to be the longest track on the album and even I feel they’ve tried to combine way too many styles within. Again much like track two the low and sombre chords play us out and I was expecting yet another instrumental number.

Track five” Scratch Out My Face On Every Portrait” is definitely not an instrument number but instead has a stunning intro. The guitars are razor sharp and whilst the beat is slow it actually forms a better basis. The vocals are much more sparing on this track and I feel this helps. It almost allows the music to breathe rather than overpowering and almost gives the track an overbearing sense of needing to sound evil. This track is a much better constructed track and the changes in tempo are better executed. The guitars are on par and the synth isn’t too high in the mix. The drums are well-executed and now you can hear the bass too. The guitars are actually complementing the notes of the synth and making this so far the standout track on the album.

Track six “Under The Sinister Shroud” takes us back to the instrumental works with just the bass drum and synth playing us through. These little instrumental/ atmospheric breaks are certainly welcomed and I feel that O.O.N. Should possibly try an instrumental album. Even with some samples thrown in I’m sure they could turn out extremely well and could possibly make for a great soundtrack too.

Track seven “The Absence Of Grace” opens on some serious overdrive and fuzz on the guitars making them sound extremely thick in their sound. Soon tit kicks up a notch after the opening. Taking on a progressive rock n roll style beat this track is in fact a catchy one. The breaks and tempo changes are well executed again much like track five. There is some definite changes in sound and style to that of the first half of the album. The midsection gets its breakdown and one that is light yet retains a level of bite thanks to those overdriven effects on the guitars. I believe this is the second longest track on the album and I already feel it is better constructed to that of track four. Once again I feel the album is finding its feet and is coming together now, but could it be too late?

Track eight “Blood Stains The Fallen Snow” is yet another instrumental track and again it’s making me feel like there is something on this album. A  presence, but of what I’m not sure.  These musical interludes are certainly helping break up the tracks on this release and this one is particularly a favourite I’m getting the mournful and darker tones from this track it’s certainly one for a horror film.

Track nine “Cruelty Bestowed Revelation” starts with an extremely symphonic intro and some classic B.M. Guitar work. This is what the album has been waiting for and definitely what I’ve been waiting for as a listener. This track is hitting the mark in every way. Every instrument is on point and the flow of the track is one to keep the listener engaged. This definitely harks back to their earlier material and is what I remember listening to before. Even the vocals have a great variation to them, with the classic rasping vitriolic sounds and even lower growls thrown in this is just a perfect track. There are plenty of changes in tempo, but when the faster sections kick in they’re truly relentless. While clocking in at the third longest track on the album it certainly doesn’t feel as constrained nor as hard to listen to as some of the previous ones. The use of synth in this track is even used in the perfect amount. Little segments where it shines through are just sublime and just what the doctor ordered. This is next to track five one of my next favourites. Everything has gelled so well and truly made it a standout track.

Track Ten. “Remain In Everlasting Silence” is the last of the instrumental tracks that play the album out. Again keeping the notes from the previous track going but played on a much lower chord makes this a great close to the album. It actually ties the second to last track and this extremely well. Great synth works once again and proving that these little interjections of instrumental pieces do provide a great filler to the album.

As my cassette player clicks to a stop, I sit almost staring into space. An almost blank expression on my skull. I roll a cigarette and have a ponder. Smoking my cigarette slowly and really savouring every in take whilst tapping my quill on the parchment. I’m really thinking how to close this review and I’m slowly sifting through my thoughts and I think I’ve settled on what my initial thought was. I’m not going to lie I don’t think I’ve been fully invested in this release like I have previous offerings by O.O.N. Their previous albums do grab you and do certainly immerse you in their signature B.M. Sound. This, however, has certainly strayed from that path. Not totally may I add. I do feel what O.O.N. have tried to achieve is to create a concept album. Sadly I do feel that this hasn’t worked in their favour. I feel the album didn’t truly find its feet until the fifth track. This I think also could’ve been down to either an E.P. or even an eight-track album and would’ve packed more of a punch and maybe held its own more than a ten-track piece. With only four full-lengths, one single and a split. Could it be truly possible that O.O.N. have reached a slight end pass or could this have been just the result of an attempt at something that just hasn’t quite panned out for them? That’s not to say that there aren’t any good points to this album, because believe me the instrumental parts and from track five the album generally found its feet and improved hugely in every which way both musically and in atmosphere .

In all essences, there are many acts that are mastering and holding down the vampiric B.M. Sound and I think there are more now that are tipping the scales against more seasoned acts. It has been a pity I couldn’t actually get into this as I was actually looking forward to it. Sadly in comparison to their older works this just hasn’t quite hit the mark. For avid fans, I’m sure there is more here than what meets the eye.


#foras #lordoftheshadows 


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