The Firstborn - The Noble Search

It’s incredible to witness how far The Firstborn have progressed since their first release “Rebirth of Evil”, when the word Evil was still attached to their name.
While said album and the following output “From The Past Yet To Come” were drenched in the grimiest and rudimentary Black-Metal, their third work “The Unclenching Fists” saw the band largely distancing themselves from such origins, embracing a sonority that was gradually becoming far more innovative and singular, with influences of ethnic and progressive music cleverly integrated into their compositions that swayed between progressive Death-Metal and experimental Black-Metal.
New record, “The Noble Search” can be described as a natural step forward in their musical evolution rather than the giant leap of before, with the band delving deeper into Buddhism and its teachings for guidance and inspiration.
Essentially, the Portuguese group have sharpened and focussed their song-craft, resulting in a more stripped down record, without the somewhat superfluous embellishments that somehow hindered the impact of “The Unclenching Fists”. It’s also warmer and more organic in tone and feel, the fact “The Noble Search” was recorded at Foel Studios, an analogue recording facility located in Wales previously used by bands like Primordial, Electric Wizard and Napalm Death might have something to do with it. The organic nature of Rolando Barros’ drums for example, is remarkable and contrasts nicely with the guitar work of Nuno Gerv├ísio and Paulo Viera, who pour out an endless stream of challenging and skilful riffs leaning on progressive and technical Death-Metal.
Each song on “The Noble Search has its own savour and distinct trait, incontestably unfolding The Firstborn’s inherent knack for dynamics and diverse textures, yet as whole the album sounds tremendously coherent and well-structured. For instance, while opening song “Illumination of the Five Realms” could be described as an incestuous marriage between Neurosis and Ravi Shankar, “Flesh to the Crows” sounds like composer Philip Glass conducting a peculiar orchestra made up of musicians from such disparate acts like Primordial and Enslaved. “In Praise of Reality” is also one of the album’s peaks, its darkly progressive complexity hints heavily at someone like Gojira jamming with sitars and the vocals of Bruno Fernandes exhibit an expressive and highly emotive quality.
“The Noble Search” was recently nominated Portuguese album of the year by Portugal’s leading publication for heavy music Loud, surpassing albums like Moonspell’s “Night Eternal” and Heavenwood’s “Redemption” and I guess that says a lot!
(8/10)

Band info: www.thenoblesearch.com
Label info: www.majorlabelindustries.com

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