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Official Music Video for "December"

Noctem Aeternus is what can only be described as a goth band with images of graveyards and zombies dancing within their well-written lyrics.  The music is laden with darkness and occasionally horror and the production is done with admirable skill.  The sound quality is nothing short of fantastic and fans of The 69 Eyes, H.I.M. and Nine Inch Nails will be smiling in black-eyed wonder at the offerings on The Hours.

 

The opening track, “Graveyard Stories,” begins with a sound clip of Charles Manson speaking about the Underworld, which will give you a good indication that Noctem Aeternus is not your conventional band playing for the masses with the hope of getting some air-time, nor do they want to be.  They are original and unique, playing music for themselves and the fans who actually understand what it’s all about.  This instrumental track is rife with the sound of chimes and an industrial essence that makes one think of back alleys at midnight and the things that happen there as society turns a blind, horrified eye.

 

There are several other instrumental tracks on the The Hours that are absolutely haunting.  “Glory” contains space-like sound effects and a superb sound that allows listeners to envision basically anything they’d like as this musically brilliant soundscape plays out.  “Loss” is an achingly beautiful piano-laden track that has the power to evoke raw emotion.  This elegant offering is exquisitely well-done and can be compared to Pachelbel’s “Canon”.  The last track on the album, “The Eleventh Hour,” is also a very elegant track that features graceful guitar work and exceptional effects that give this piece a sense of danger and foreboding.  While the root of this track is melancholy, there is an underlying sense of inspiration within it that will bring to mind beautiful landscapes and a hopeful feeling of freedom.

 

“Calm Before The Storm” introduces us to the vocals of Justin Bailey, which are deep and deliberate.  There is not a single wasted word within this piece and the lyrics are thoughtful.  The sound quality is simply killer and the effects are done with extreme skill and talent.  “The One” carries a mellow feel and the lyrics are full of vivid imagery.  The likes of Bauhaus may come to mind while listening to this piece and the haunting melody will remain in the mind.  The album’s title track, “The Hours,” is a slow number with a dramatic flair and lyrics that bring forth a sense of despair so great that darkness seems to cover everything.  Bailey’s vocals are strong throughout and his delivery is confident.  

 

“Astro Zombies,” originally done by The Misfits, is the only high energy, fast-paced song on The Hours and it is done with exceptional skill.  Bailey’s vocals mirror Glenn Danzig’s well, and although this piece may seem out of place on an otherwise melancholy album, it is refreshing and invigorating. “Silhouette” is a track that is seething with darkness and the lyrics are slightly disturbing.  Fans of Nine Inch Nails will adore this offering and Noctem Aeternus has once more proven that their music is deeply entrenched in the shadows of human nature.  “December” is likewise cloaked in darkness and shades of The 69 Eyes make appearances throughout.  

 

The Hours is an album filled with haunting beauty, elegance and talent that seem to be in short supply in this era of canned music and radio hits.  Whether Noctem Aeternus is producing nearly flawless instrumental tracks or creating disturbingly dark lyrical masterpieces, the music is creative and artistic by turns and will find a home within the hearts of those who understand the despair that occasionally inhabits the human heart.  

 

 

Reviewed by Rhonda Readence

Rating:  5 stars (out of 5)

The Hours is an intriguing album that seems to defy classification. While Noctem Aeternus is billed as a group, it appears that it’s almost a solo creation of Justin Bailey. He seems to have done most of the music on the set (with a few guests) and wrote all the songs except the single cover track. 

 

“Graveyard Stories” starts with a spoken sound loop. Keyboards and a rhythm section rise up from there in a dark jam that calls to mind a combination of Depeche Mode, Porcupine Tree and horror movie music. Gothic and fairly mellow, but tastefully dark, “Calm Before the Storm” feels more like Depeche Mode with some Porcupine Tree in the mix. It powers up to a more bouncy and driving sound. There’s certainly a lot of electronic music in the mix, but it also falls close to modern progressive rock. 

 

With “The One” the band seem to find themselves outside of the electronic and Goth sounds of the Depeche Mode school of music and land more firmly in the progressive rock vein. Sure, those dark and brooding elements that embody Gothic music are still there, but this tune fits squarely under the modern progressive rock heading. At times Roxy Music is a valid reference, too. 

 

Spacey keyboards create a dark and gloomy, yet extremely progressive rock oriented, soundscape as “Glory” begins. It’s over a minute in before anything else shows up, and it’s basically just a beat that’s added. The keyboards become lush and powerful as the track builds upwards. It never really rises beyond a keyboard solo as it remains an instrumental. 

 

“The Hours” starts with pretty acoustic guitar oriented, balladic music. The vocals come over gently and the track definitely feels like modern progressive rock. It builds up as it continues, but never turns past progressive rock territory. It’s a nice change, but still retains the dark and gloomy sounds of the rest of the set.  “Astro Zombies” is a cool tune, but it doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the album. Of course, the fact that it’s a cover of a Misfits song goes a long way towards explaining that. Still, this version is more of a punk rocker in the vein of the Ramones mixed with The Dickies. It’s rocks out harder than anything else on the set, but lacks both the prog elements and the goth sounds that are heard in the other tunes. It just seems like something dropped in to destroy the flow. Perhaps it would have been better utilized as a “bonus track” removed from the flow of the disc proper. 

 

“Silhouette” brings the Gothic gloom back in full. It’s slow moving and sedate with waves of keyboards serving as the backdrop for the vocals. Certainly Porcupine Tree is a valid reference, but so is Depeche Mode. A rhythm section comes in later, bringing more of an electronic vibe to the piece. More pure progressive rock emerges later as the vocals soar across the top. It’s one of the more dynamic and effective pieces of the set. 

 

“Loss” is a delicate and intricate piece of music. It is distinctly progressive rock oriented. It’s appropriately sad, but also very pretty. Although it sounds like there might be some non-lyrical vocals, they also sound like they could be provided by keyboards. As “December” starts it has a modern progressive rock sound. The rhythm section takes it closer to electronic music and the vocals are certainly in keeping with Depeche Mode. 

 

Somehow the acoustic guitar based motifs that open “The Eleventh Hour” seem to call to mind both David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and Pink Floyd. The cut grows out from there into something closer to symphonic progressive rock. It’s gloomy, but also pretty and involved. It’s another strong cut on a disc that’s very potent. 

 

This album is quite good. The Misfits cover seems to have been a misstep, but that could have been corrected by including it as a bonus track. Beyond that, at times the vocals seem a little rough around the edges. With those the only two complaints, it seems this disc will please a lot of people. 

 

Reviewed by: G.W.Hill - Music Street Journal

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

The group Noctem Aeternus is essentially the pet project of vocalist, songwriter, drummer, and keyboardist, Justin Bailey.  Given the group’s name and the blood red cover that adorns their album, The Hours, you may begin to assume that the music within is not exactly going to be full of sunshine and happiness.  Though it’s typically not wise to judge a book by its cover, (or a CD in this case) in this instance, you’d largely be right; Noctem Aeternus delves heavily into a dark, gothic sound, including a Misfits cover for good measure.  However, that old idiom still proves useful as Bailey’s love for ‘80s synthpop bands like Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, and Tears For Fears has not escaped him.  So instead of a straight up Gothic Rock album, The Hours is a more eclectic mix of dark imagery and layered keyboards.  

“Loss” is a shining moment for the band.  Relying on oohs and aahs from the vocal faculty, Noctem Aeternus delivers a beautiful nuanced and melodically gorgeous piece of rock music with heavy baroque/classical roots.  This is the sort of piece listeners will hit ‘repeat’ for again and again.