NOMINON - The True Face of Death (TPL Records - LP 2004)
Bands like Nominon deserve an unquestionable respect from the maniacs, in my opinion, for standing on the side of unfashionable metal sounds, for their own pleasure and passion, not for the wallets of greedy label managers. I mean Nominon started to play obscure and morbid death metal already at the time, when no one else (or not so many) were thinking about doing so. You know, their first album, “Diabolical Bloodshed”, was released in 1999 and death metal at that time was barely surviving, slowly raising its rotten head again, after the few years of black metal domination. In Sweden only Nominon, Repugnant and Kaamos (plus Dismember from the old guard) have been already slaughtering with something what nowadays so many other bands try to explore. And for that I have a lot of respect for them. Although I cannot say that I like all Nominon recordings, but most of them I do… This 2004’s EP “The True Face of Death” may actually belong to those less favourable recordings in my opinion, but it is decent enough to have in my collection and give a spin once in a while.
The main fault of “The True Face of Death” lays in its production. While the songwriting is not bad at all and each track has some good riffs and they all have some memorable moments, the sound of “The True Face of Death” effectively deprives the music of all its real values. The whole material sounds annoyingly raw… of corpse that usually is not the problem for me, but in this case I don’t like it so much, as the production takes away all the energy and powerful feeling from those songs, while the good production would nicely complete. The drums (snare drum) sound especially bad, in my opinion, and it does take some seconds, before you get used to it… This is why I don’t like the opening theme on this EP, as I hate the snare drums sound in it. I am sure though that if “The True Face of Death” was recorded in better conditions, then this EP would be a real death metal slaughter. I really wish if it had more traditional Swedish production… aarrghhh! Anyway, “The True Face of Death” is as it is and no one will be able to change it.
While I’m not so fond of the production, I quite like the songs from this EP. These horror influenced tunes do evoke the death metal feeling straight away and when I listen to it I have a feeling like Nominon was hugely influenced by Merciless. Both bands seem to have quite many thrash metal influences in their music and blend them with death metal aggression in excellent way. The riffs are razor sharp and are slaying with cruel force, in songs like “White Death” especially, which is quite fast track. The opening riff for “Amityville” may give you even the strong resemblance to Slayer on “Hell Awaits”, at other times there may be a similarity to Kreator… And the pace is quite fast and relentless almost all the time, when you hear the first four songs. The last one, “Afterlife Desires”, is completely opposite to the rest of the material from “The True Face of Death” and it surprises we very doomy and slow playing and melancholic atmosphere, but I must admit that Nominon did a great job and I like this song most from the whole EP! It is truly great and I would never expect Nominon to be able to compose such a killer doom death metal song, so well done here! It is worth to buy “The True Face of Death” just for this one track alone, believe me! But obviously the fans of Merciless should like the rest also. I think the whole material is pretty fine and solid.
Standout track: “Afterlife Desires”
Final rate: 70/100