SKULL189

NOX, Blood, Bones and Ritual Death (2010, Listenable)

The skull:
You start with a skull and crossbones, and you think, “This is cool, but it kinda looks like we play pirate metal.” So, okay, add a ritual circle or something. It’s not a pentagram, but it at least sort of suggests magick or some Crowley shit. Maybe add some esoteric symbols, like that thing on all those King Diamond albums. Looks good! But then, you start thinking, “This is pretty plain, just a skull and a circle. Maybe some clouds or something to fill in the background?” Except now your cover is mostly white and grey. That shit ain’t evil. Maybe if the whole thing was red? Bingo! Now that’s a fucking cover you can take to the bank!

The music:
When this EP started playing, I was initially a little excited by the slinky weird riff that opens the disc. But then Nox repeated that single riff for a minute and a half, and called that a track. So, that’s how it’s going to be, Nox? After that momentary illusion of interest, the EP settles into competent Morbid Angel/Nile worship, with hints of black metal thrown in for good measure. Some of the guitar work is genuinely interesting, including the generally excellent leads, and across the board the playing is solid, but an over-reliance on blast beats and the pedestrian growling drag the whole thing down. I think if Nox spent a little more time trying to write the best songs possible, worrying less about sounding and looking evil, they might come up with some properly great work. That said, the band is on hold while the guitarist pursues another project, so there’s no guessing if this is the last we’ll hear from Nox.
— Friar Johnsen

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