Oh man this album gives me the feels. I feel the need to preface this by stating that I fucking love Home, but will have to don my unbiased pants for this review. Very rarely do I find whole productions that stir my soul in such a way that I associate them with my life and experiences. Admittedly, I am a sucker for melancholy-drenched epics that put you in the place, eyes, ears, and soul of the artist, but this is something different. Home, the second release from post-black metal juggernauts Numenorean, is a truly intimate experience. Like Agalloch and Fen before them, Numenorean are gifted orchestrators who continue the tradition of emotionally eliciting depressive metal. Home features one of the most raw and provocative images ever to be put in an album cover, a shades of grey depiction of a murdered child. Since I like to imagine my readers have some kind of conscience, I will not feature the artwork directly but you can view it on their bandcamp page here. Needless to say, it’s rough, but falls in line with the message of this album. Numenorean put it simply, “Art shouldn’t be easy to digest.”
Home is meant to address death and loss as the frightening realities that they are, and unfortunately for too many, the loss of a beloved child is their reality. I believe, contrary to the artist, that Home is not just about the bleakness of despair and hopelessness. Listening I get the complete antithesis of this, with anthem-like melodies that elicit hope in the face of lachrymose tribulation. Home may revolve thematically around the crux of despair, but what is woke in me and my experience is the aftermath of tragedy; rebuilding. Numenorean have given us a gift, relate to it how you may. Here it goes:
Home starts us off with the woeful cries of a woman, perhaps the mother of the dead child featured on the album? Atmospheric and spacey guitars fall in place, setting a somber mood. Then the magic happens. Anthem-like, triumphant and resounding, the guitar brings a melody that carries throughout the song, gaining momentum and impact with every recurrence. Somber, pained vocals combined with the plaintive melodies of the guitar, set the perfect scene. Continuing in my lazy tradition, I’m not going to break this down track by track. Each of these songs is familiar in tone to one another, linking new themes to a strict meter. The dichotomy between the epic anthems found song to song is excellent. Take Thirst as an example. Short-lived though it may be, the intro riff drives my point home decisively. Comparing that the the unbelievably impactful closing heavy riff in Laid Down (which, by the way, is repeated throughout the song, each time in a more grandiose manner), it becomes clear that Numenorean are in their fucking wheelhouse. The post-metal is strong with this one my son.
A few things I have to get off my chest, mainly statements to the genre in general rather than specifically gearing towards this release. This whole deal with the tremolo guitar may be a bit genre defining, but is a one trick pony. Numenorean use this technique throughout Home, and do so masterfully. It’s a shame that more bands don’t put the same amount of thought into composition. This album is not for everyone. If the cover art turned you off, well I don’t blame you. If epic length soul stirring epics aren’t your bag of tricks, this is not for you. At the same time, if you are a fan of bands like Agalloch and Fen, then Numenorean are most likely your new best friends.
Pretty unbiased right? Like I stated earlier, I fucking love this album. It reminds me of the most difficult time in my life. You might not like it. I don’t give a shit. This album is inspired. I give Home by Numenorean 9.5 horns out of 10.
What’s the most depressing thing you can think of to drink? Hmmmmmm… 40’s? Me thinks yes.