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Night Profound : Invocatio Lux, Evocatio Nox

Jeff 01.03.2017 Reviews

2016 : Not Just Religious Music
Format : LP

“Neo” is a prefix with it’s roots in the Greek néos; young or new. Attaching that to “Folk” almost seems like an oxymoron, and the combination is one I’ve never been completely comfortable with. Alas, it is what it is, as they say, but for me, there’s nothing new about it. In my mind, it’s definitely predominately acoustic, but more often than naught rooted in Heathen Traditions, regardless of where one’s heritages lie. From the Strawbs, to Changes and the undisputed crown prince, Death In June, it’s a genre with a rich and varied history. Many of it’s pioneers coming from the early Punk or Industrial scenes, remnants of which can still be heard in the likes of the above mentioned Di6 or early Blood Axis.

So it should be no real surprise that the subject of this review have their roots firmly planted in the Metal scene. Recent years in North America have seen a growing number of NeoFolk projects that while acoustic in execution, manage to deliver with a scarcely restrained aggression: Brooklynites Cult of Youth as well as their friends in Blood and Sun, and now Vancouver’s Night Profound. The project began as the solo project of the frontman for Canadian Death Metal stalwarts Mitochondrion and Auroch, Shawn Haché. Shawn was later joined by his longtime comrade R. Scythe Bearer, previously of Black Metal bands Pestkreuz and Havoc. The ouroboros had now grasped it’s tail.

I’ll admit I’ve long kept a watchful eye on this project, from their cover of the Manson Family’s “Love’s Death” for Heathen Harvest’s 2014 Midsummer compilation, Morituri Te Salutant’s “Divided We Fall” compilation and their excellent cover of  The Moon Lay Hidden Behind A Cloud’s “XIII”, the latter of which even caught the attention of Albin Julius. None of which prepared me for the power of this record.

The album begins with “Night Of Fire & Flames”, heart-wrenchingly beautiful, but a song that demands your full attention and one that should be played at law enforcement volumes. Trust me. The interplay between the vocal styles of these two young men is incredible.

This song is a prayer
This song is a pledge
I was born in flames
And I will be born again….

“Night of Lightening Bolts” with the percussion taking a predominant role is equally awe-inspiring. There’s an interlude with the sound of a thunderstorm that makes me keep hitting the <<, exquisite. This leads us into “Night Of Blood & Ash”. This is hands down one of my favorite songs of 2016. When I get around to burning that “Songs to play at Jeff’s funeral” disc for the old bag, you can bet this will be on it. It took me  solid two weeks to hear the final song on the LP because I kept replaying this one. Listen below, tell me I’m wrong. You won’t. You can’t.

The album ends with the somber “Night Of Shining Death”, and all things end as all things must, with that great equalizer…Death. The longest track on the record, but rather than ending on an ominous note, we’re left with the promise of renewal and rebirth.

There is no sun, without a shadow
And we must know the Night
And with this song, I face the End
For the wheel has turned again

Limited to just 300 copies and released on TJ Cowgill’s (King Dude) Not Just Religious Music label, the record is available in three beautiful color variations. Look, I like to think of myself as a very “no bullshit” kind of reviewer, and person in general. As cheesy as it sounds, I value honesty above all things. This is a fantastic record, and if you’re a fan of NeoFolk, you’d be amiss if this record isn’t in your collection.

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