Noekk - The Minstrel’s Curse
Prog/Doom Metal
4 songs (34:24)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Goat

Although the majority of us will probably only have a certain amount of tolerance for lengthy songs about mythical royal families, apparently there are a few brave souls out there that enjoy this sort of thing, and Noekk is most definitely designed for them. A side project of Empyrium members, the band has been going for a while now, The Minstrel’s Curse being its third album in the four years since Noekk was formed.

The most obvious parallel would be with Opeth, but Noekk takes a much more cheesy path, and is closer overall to Doom than to Death Metal. Vocalist Funghus Baldachin seems to take a delight in overblown epic vocals, and they are at the forefront of the production along with the riffs, which sadly can drown out some of the more intricate keyboard moments. Also, the four songs on offer aren’t the sort that immediately grab you, and you really have to listen hard to get the most out of them.

The final nail in the coffin is the fact that the songs on offer are more extended Heavy/Doom Metal songs than anything especially Prog, despite the piano sections that are ultimately what saved me from complete boredom. The title track seems to try a little too hard, with the growled vocals towards the end feeling out of place, whilst Song Of Durin seems like something left off a Therion album. Perhaps predictably, the shortest song here, How Long Is Ever, is the best, infusing its riffing and piano with a genuinely atmospheric style that is largely due to the lack of vocals the track possesses. When the best track on an album is an instrumental, it’s never a good sign, and ultimately your enjoyment of this album (at only thirty-four minutes long, this must be one of the shortest Prog Metal albums ever!) will depend more on your patience and generosity than how good the music actually is.

Killing Songs :
How Long Is Ever
Goat quoted 62 / 100
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