This is a really tough one.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Noctum’s latest release. It’s a solid album in its style and would, in almost any other year, have a much bigger impact than what it does now. Sadly, it has come out in a time in which we have soon-to-be-classics from In Solitude, Church of Misery, and others in our very recent memories. Final Sacrifice needed to really raise the bar just to be noticed among the doom pack in 2013, and unfortunately, they just don’t quite succeed.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a few songs here that stand-up just fine. “The Revisit” is a fine piece of occult magic that should be on the playlist of anyone who fancies themselves an expert in Sabbath-derived heaviness;“A Burning Will” is a fantastic and improbable NWOBHM-inspired gallop. But those are the only moments that REALLY stand-out.

It’s really a damn shame. No element of the album is really bad, there’s just very little that makes the listener’s ears perk up. The vocals are fine, the production is fine, the guitar work is good, but the songs are just kind of… there. You can’t really criticize them, but you can’t compliment most of them either. The album just sort of washes over the listener in a way that doesn’t distract from whatever it is they’re doing. You can’t hate the songs, but you can’t love them either.

Even the production is unobtrusive and flat. It lets the songs speak for themselves, which would be perfect, if the songs had anything truly interesting to say. The whole experience that is Final Sacrifice just kind of sits there: a simply good release in a year filled with far too much similar but yet superior music for it to contend with.

So here in late October, 2013, I simply can’t recommend Noctum’s sophomore album. Maybe in a few months this will be of more interest to the doomsters out there but as of right now, the place for Final Sacrifice is on the back-burner. It’s not a bad release, it just can’t compete with what’s going on around it.[signoff predefined=”Signoff 1″][/signoff]