Rating:
N/A
The Firstborn - The Noble Search
6 December 2008


01. Illumination Of The Five Realms
02. Water Transformation
03. Flesh To The Crows [feat. Proscriptor McGovern & Hugo Santos]
04. 'Sunyata (The Wisdom Of Emptiness)
05. The Noble Search
06. In Praise Of Reality
07. Bliss
08. Ocean Of The One Vehicle


Avant-garde Black metal
Recorded: Foel Studio, Wales 2008
Label: Major Label Industries
Total Running Time: 45:48


The year 2009 is progressing quite steadily and a big share of new releases has been floating by so far. This also means that, by now, we all had the time to pin down the more memorable releases of 2008. Among those more interesting albums of last year belongs The Noble Search by Portuguese metal act The Firstborn. Frankly, The Noble Search was also one of the more challenging releases of the past year. Mainly because it's an a-typical, pretty avant-garde (as in unconventional) album due to complex and experimental (dare I say exotic) tendencies. Before going into detail, let me "warn" you that, it took me an awful long time to bring this particular review to fruition. On the one hand, I had of course a lot of other dirty writing business to deal with, creating a certain review-laziness on my part. But on the other hand - and more importantly - this was such a surpassingly complex yet luminous listening experience that I finally came to realize it was almost impossible to be fully satisfied whatsoever with the way I was putting this album into words... So here goes.

The Firstborn's sound is leaning towards the more extreme side of the metal spectrum, retaining its roots in black metal. The biggest challenge, however, was putting an accurate label on the peculiarity of that black metal founded sound. It so happens that the music is experimental and fluent but also complex in a well-structured way. The mentioned complexity includes tempo swifts, very prominent drumming and clean and harsh vocal alternations. The whole thing is seasoned with plenty of nuances and note-perfect arrangements, giving the album even more elaboration. Moreover, what makes this release so "different" and "special" is that The Noble Search is completely inspired and based on the Buddhist philosophy. Indeed, Buddhism is serving as a solid foundation for both lyrics and sound, giving the album a certain ethnic oriental touch. No reason to panic so far: having a limited/non-existing knowledge about the Buddhist beliefs is not an issue. Basically, the booklet can be considered a colorful crash-course in Buddhism. All the more, the booklet is a sort of tool, helping the listener on its way to their own noble search... or at least providing some necessary background information in understanding the lyrics. Next to the conceptual themes, also the sound is spiced up with some oriental approaches. A sporadic use of sitar and percussion are coloring up the grim black metal layered sound. Due to not being overly familiar with the sitar or the Buddhist theme myself, the first few listens were quite unique indeed. In that event, it nevertheless took me a while to acclimatize to those oriental spheres. Indeed, just like Buddhism itself, The Noble Search is something you'll need to master first before being able to fully comprehend and appreciate.

Maybe "extravagant" is a too expensive word to describe this one-of-a-kind album in the best possible way. But then again, I never quite experienced (and enjoyed) an aberrant metal journey of that kind. Indeed, in all probability The Noble Search will seem like nothing you have ever heard before but will sound surprisingly familiar at the same time - paradox or reality, that's up to you to find out.


PS: the entire album is streaming on the band's MySpace. Be sure to give it a try.


 


written by Thryce | 17.06.2009



Comments

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Dane Train - 18.06.2009 at 00:16  
WTF!! BUDHUIST KCAT MAKE METALZ!!! THIZ IZ SO WRONGZ!!! THERE A BUNCH OF POSZERZ!!!1!111!!! [/tr00]

Actually, this sounds like a really exciting album. I've never heard of this band, but I am am going to get this album. By the way, great review!
Marcus - 18.06.2009 at 00:38  
This seems like an awesome album, I def agree with Dane Train. Definitely gonna try to get a hold of this.
Ag Fox - 18.06.2009 at 00:55  
V intriguing review. I'll go myspace (=
Ask - 18.06.2009 at 02:31  
Nice to see this reviewed. It's a pretty cool album but I usually have to be in the mood to listen to it.
BloodTears - 18.06.2009 at 08:35  
I'm just happy someone reviewed The Firstborn.
Italics - 18.06.2009 at 12:14  
The music isn't bad, but I'm not sure how this can be considered experimental or unique, sounds like many other bands
Thryce - 18.06.2009 at 12:20  
Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:14

The music isn't bad, but I'm not sure how this can be considered experimental or unique, sounds like many other bands

Yeah, everybody is using the sitar and has Buddhist inspired lyrics these days. What a dumb review.

Like I clearly stated: "in all probability The Noble Search will seem like nothing you have ever heard before but will sound surprisingly familiar at the same time". Thanks for confirming my point there.
Italics - 18.06.2009 at 12:31  
Written by Thryce on 18.06.2009 at 12:20

Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:14

The music isn't bad, but I'm not sure how this can be considered experimental or unique, sounds like many other bands

Yeah, everybody is using the sitar and has Buddhist inspired lyrics these days. What a dumb review.

Like I clearly stated: "in all probability The Noble Search will seem like nothing you have ever heard before but will sound surprisingly familiar at the same time". Thanks for confirming my point there.


Chill buddy, no need to get your panties in a knot.

I'm just saying what I'm saying... the music doesn't sound that unique to me.

Adding sitar to very typical black/death metal doesn't suddenly make it unique.
I mean, if I took a Cannibal Corpse album and added occasional fart noises in the background... would you call my efforts experimental and unique? Or typical death metal with fart noises?
Thryce - 18.06.2009 at 12:47  
Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:31

I'm just saying what I'm saying... the music doesn't sound that unique to me.
Adding sitar to very typical black/death metal doesn't suddenly make it unique.

If adding sitar, percussion and Buddhist themes to a typical black metal sound can't be regarded as experimental, I don't know what is. And yes, I find it to be quite the unique (as in unconventional) combination. I'm just saying what I'm saying... right.

Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:31

I mean, if I took a Cannibal Corpse album and added occasional fart noises in the background... would you call my efforts experimental and unique? Or typical death metal with fart noises?

I would call your farting the lowest form of wit. Unless of course fart noises are considered music all of a sudden.
Italics - 18.06.2009 at 12:54  
Written by Thryce on 18.06.2009 at 12:47

Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:31

I'm just saying what I'm saying... the music doesn't sound that unique to me.
Adding sitar to very typical black/death metal doesn't suddenly make it unique.

If adding sitar, percussion and Buddhist themes to a typical black metal sound can't be regarded as experimental, I don't know what is. And yes, I find it to be quite the unique (as in unconventional) combination. I'm just saying what I'm saying... right.

Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:31

I mean, if I took a Cannibal Corpse album and added occasional fart noises in the background... would you call my efforts experimental and unique? Or typical death metal with fart noises?

I would call your farting the lowest form of wit. Unless of course fart noises are considered music all of a sudden.


Eh, whatever.
I consider a band's melodies to determine how unique they are. Nowadays, bands using different/unusual instruments has become very popular and overrused. Sure, you'll never hear it on MTV, but then again you won't hear 99.9% of metal on MTV. Guess it just depends on your idea of "unique." I don't care WHAT instruments a band uses... how does it sound? To me this just doesn't sound unique.. there are some parts here and there where it's a bit different, but overall it is just typical. Just my opinion. Not calling you an idiot.
Thryce - 18.06.2009 at 13:51  
Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:54

Just my opinion.

Sure, you can have any opinion you want. What matters the most is that you checked this stuff out thanks to my review.

My point is just that, until you can point out at least three more oriental-inspired black metal bands using sitars and relying on the Buddhist image, I regard this band as being unique and experimental. But that's just my opinion.
Damnated - 18.06.2009 at 14:46  
Written by Italics on 18.06.2009 at 12:31

Adding sitar to very typical black/death metal doesn't suddenly make it unique.
I mean, if I took a Cannibal Corpse album and added occasional fart noises in the background... would you call my efforts experimental and unique? Or typical death metal with fart noises?


indeed. this is quite average extreme metal with a couple of good moments. nothing unique or experimental here.
Got Mayhem? - 18.06.2009 at 14:55  
Sounds really interesting, gonna go check it out.
Dane Train - 18.06.2009 at 18:16  
So I just logged on to my personal MySpace and my ministry's MySpace and both had a friend requestion from The Firstborn. Just finished listening to the first several songs and while it has a strong feel of Mastodon it is also very fresh and original it its own way.
BitterCOld - 19.06.2009 at 19:02  
You didn't give it a score? how are we supposed to know if it's a good album?

checking it out now, good review that piqued my curiosity.
TheBigRossowski - 20.06.2009 at 13:15  
Sounds pretty interesting, man... let's give that sucker a listen.

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