Nochnoy Dozor – Nochnoy Dozor – EP Review

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Artist: Nochnoy Dozor

Album Title: Nochnoy Dozor

Label: Prophecy Productions

Date of Release: 26 October 2018

With a name like this, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Nochnoy Dozor hailed from somewhere in Russia or the Baltic. As it turns out, the band are actually Greek, and came into existence in around 2015. This self-titled EP is the quintet’s debut and I have to say that it is extremely intriguing and rather engaging.

Their moniker is apparently inspired by the Sergei Lukyanenko novel of the same name which, in English is loosely translated as ‘Night Watch’. Comprised of guitarist Manos G, vocalist Lina, keyboardist/synth player and backing vocalist Revekka, drummer Chris “Jo” and bassist Nick, the music is actually rather unique. They seek to blend a number of styles into their output and do it pretty successfully. Alongside heavy metal elements such as distorted guitars, bold drumming and rumbling bass, there are elements of ambient, pop, dark rock and doom all interwoven into the six tracks that make up this EP.

Arguably the most striking element of Nochnoy Dozor’s sound however, is the use of dual female vocals. Neither growl or shriek, they just lace the material with sensitive but powerful and passionate mellifluous singing. I’m reminded a little of the delivery of Cammie Gilbert of Oceans of Slumber, in so far as Lina’s vocals are just so soulful and different. And yet, they suit the dark and foreboding music perfectly.

The EP begins with ‘Black Hand’, which starts off with just a few sparse guitar notes and Lina’s mesmerising voice. It could not be more minimal in its approach, meaning that when the rest of the band join in, it makes a heck of an impact. The distorted guitars, ably assisted by the bass create a satisfying rumble that counterpoints the vocals, whilst the drums create an insistent beat on top of the simple yet effective melodies. The synths gather momentum, creating layers of atmosphere, dystopian and dark in tone, but beautifully richand layered. The backing vocals of Revekka are equally melodic and when they duet on top of a heavy but restrained tumult, I find myself very impressed.

The music is far removed from the likes of Katatonia, but I am somehow reminded of them on this track and within the EP as a whole. I think, in the main, this is because of the darkness and the dystopian nature that combine with subtlety and strong melody to create a striking musical backdrop.

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‘Stains’ kicks off again in minimalist fashion with just drummer Chris “Jo” laying down a simple beat over which Lina sings softly and assuredly. The bass joins in and the song begins to take shape. Unlike the opener however, the metallic aspects do not make an appearance. Instead, the band are content to explore more subtle, laid back but no less intense soundscapes, where minimalism, gentle electronica and ambience all combine beautifully, only to erupt in the final stages.

The heavy, distorted and dirty, doom-laden riffs return within ‘Closer’ but again, Lina’s vocals lace the bolder composition with elegance, especially when duetting with Revekka. The melodies are more pop-like here to my ears and yet they seem to fit well with the heavier approach. The synths too also assist in creating a multi-faceted song that’s over before it has even begun, lasting just three minutes.

The synths of Revekka are stunning within the opening to ‘Home Sick Home’, where again the melodies have more than a hint of pop about them. And yet, the bold ambience, accentuated by the pronounced minimalism could not be further from the mainstream world of pop. And the dark, melancholy tones and lyrics push things even further into the underground. But the song is just incredible brittle and subtle, it is irresistible.

Arguably the most confrontational and altogether heaviest song on this EP is ‘All Mine’, despite the muscular outbursts being cleverly interspersed with quieter moments. But when the aggression is unleashed, it is jarring and more than a little uncomfortable. The same can be said of the final track, ‘Ben-Hur’ which begins with a slightly unnerving and sinister fashion, the soundtrack of nightmares. Mind you, the slow, heavy doom riffs that emerge don’t do much to lighten the mood. But worry not, because there is plenty of ebb and flow, where quieter minimalism takes over one minute and where the pace picks up the next. In fact, it’s a surprisingly urgent way in which to end the EP.

I have to admit that I have been very surprised by this release. A lot takes place within the six tracks here, almost all of them positive and intriguing. I genuinely enjoy the music on offer on ‘Nochnoy Dozor’ because it is relatively unique, melodic and well put together. I’d love to hear a full album from Nochnoy Dozor but for the time being, this debut EP is more than enough to get heads turning and announce their arrival in the metal world. I have a good feeling about the future for this properly interesting band.

The Score of Much Metal: 8.5

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can check out my others from 2018 and from previous years right here:

2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

Vola – Applause of a Distant Crowd
Lost In Thought – Renascence
Into Eternity – The Sirens
Fifth Angel – The Third Secret
Ashes of my Memory – Raptures /// Disillusions EP
Anathema – Internal Landscapes
Samskaras – Lithification
Seventh Dimension – The Corrupted Lullaby
Hate Eternal – Upon Desolate Sands
Witherfall – A Prelude To Sorrow
Northward – Northward
Seventh Wonder – Tiara
Warrel Dane – Shadow Work
Haken – Vector
Beyond Creation – Algorythm
Ultha – The Inextricable Wandering
Amaranthe – Helix
Ghost Ship Octavius – Delirium
Decembre Noir – Autumn Kings
The Odious Construct – Shrine of the Obscene
Fauna Timbre – Altering Echoes
The Moor – Jupiter’s Immigrants
Revocation – The Outer Ones
Riverside – Wasteland
Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction
Dynazty – Firesign
Deicide – Overtures of Blasphemy
Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost
Krisiun – Scourge of the Enthroned
Kingcrow – The Persistence
Cast The Stone – Empyrean Atrophy
Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold
Helion Prime – Terror of the Cybernetic Space Monster
Madder Mortem – Marrow
A Dying Planet – Facing The Incurable
Árstíðir – Nivalis
Mob Rules – Beast Reborn
The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex
Aethereus – Absentia
Unanimated – Annihilation
Manticora – To Kill To Live To Kill
Rivers of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name
Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed
Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 1
Redemption – Long Night’s Journey Into Day
Distorted Harmony – A Way Out
Tomorrow’s Eve – Mirror of Creation III – Project Ikaros
Atrocity – Okkult II
Lux Terminus – The Courage To Be
Kataklysm – Meditations
Marduk – Viktoria
Midas Fall – Evaporate
The Sea Within – The Sea Within
Haken – L-1VE
Follow The Cipher – Follow The Cipher
Spock’s Beard – Noise Floor
Ihsahn – Amr
The Fierce And The Dead – The Euphoric
Millennial Reign – The Great Divide
Subsignal – La Muerta
At The Gates – To Drink From The Night Itself
Dimmu Borgir – Eonian
Hekz – Invicta
Widow’s Peak – Graceless EP
Ivar Bjørnson and Einar Selvik – Hugsjá
Frequency Drift – Letters to Maro
Æpoch – Awakening Inception
Crematory – Oblivion
Wallachia – Monumental Heresy
Skeletal Remains – Devouring Mortality
MØL – Jord
Aesthesys – Achromata
Kamelot – The Shadow Theory
Barren Earth – A Complex of Cages
Memoriam – The Silent Vigil
Kino – Radio Voltaire
Borealis – The Offering
W.E.T. – Earthrage
Auri – Auri
Purest of Pain – Solipsis
Susperia – The Lyricist
Structural Disorder – …And The Cage Crumbles In the Final Scene
Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram
Divine Realm – Nordicity
Oceans of Slumber – The Banished Heart
Poem – Unique
Gleb Kolyadin – Gleb Kolyadin
Apathy Noir – Black Soil
Deathwhite – For A Black Tomorrow
Conjurer – Mire
Jukub Zytecki – Feather Bed/Ladder Head
Lione/Conti – Lione/Conti
Usurpress – Interregnum
Kælling – Lacuna
Vinide – Reveal
Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black
Long Distance Calling – Boundless
In Vain – Currents
Harakiri For The Sky – Arson
Orphaned Land – Unsung Prophets And Dead Messiahs
Tribulation – Down Below
Machine Head – Catharsis
Bjorn Riis – Coming Home EP
Twilight’s Embrace – Penance EP
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Arch Echo – Arch Echo
Asenblut – Legenden
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon
Watain – Trident Wolf Eclipse

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