Review: Numenorean’s Home Will Have you Searching for Shelter
Before I was assigned their debut full-length, Home, Alberta’s Numenorean had managed to stealthily elude my radar. So, to prepare for this review, I searched all avenues of the internet to find whatever material I could… and upon hearing their brilliant constructed demo, I was blown away. So blown away, in fact, that I wondered how the band would ever be able to top it.
But Home surpasses all expectations. Numenoreon has managed to make music that blends shoe-gaze, black, and post-metal with some unique takes on the genre as a whole, creating a package that feels mature rather than influenced — comfortable with itself, but not unwilling to expand its boundaries.
The sounds of a crying woman sets the somber, grief-stricken tone for the album. Beautiful, clean guitar starts to bleed into the torment, and there’s a sense of comfort that takes hold as the crying ceases… right before a build up of distorted tremolo riffs that cut through the dreary introduction.
The instrumental structure offers a sense of allure that serves as a direct contradiction to the lyrical content of Brandon Lemley’s strained vocals. As the album’s title would suggest, there’s a recurring theme throughout of trying to find “home” — trying to find comfort, something all humans inherently seek in one form or another. This concept is coupled with lonesome imagery dealing with nature, love, hate, life, and death. There’s a clear sense of overwhelming lyrical gravity amidst the gliding instrumentals that serves to keep the album grounded, regardless of how beautiful it becomes.
Home only features five tracks, one of which is a three minute instrumental interlude. But with an average running time of around ten minutes per song, the other four cuts provide no shortage of material. And the album never meanders; every track feels like it has its place, and each one manages to successfully stand on its own. But when the album is enjoyed in its entirety, it becomes apparent how powerful Home is as a complete product. The songs play off one another both lyrically and instrumentally, creating a landscape within the music that demands to be traversed by its listener, no matter how bleak it might appear.
“Thirst” and “Devour” are the true standouts on the album, songs that flawlessly sweep between traditional black metal structure and post-metal ambiance. One moment these tracks sound like something from Panopticon, while another moment might sound heavily influenced by Rosetta — but the fluidity between styles is something that Numenorean do all on their own. And the album’s final track, “Laid Down,” has one of the most memorable clean riffs I’ve heard in ages, especially when, near its conclusion, the distortion cuts out and the haunting, reverb-soaked melody is left for the listener to enjoy.
Home is more than just a fitting debut release from a talented band. It’s a complete idea, a story from start to finish that comes ’round full circle. It’s not often that listeners get to go on a journey through such a beautifully crafted musical world, but Numenorean are worthy of their Tolkien-inspired roots. It’s not an easy album to get through, as its complexity makes for a draining listening experience. But at its core is an intelligent and moving piece of musical genius that expects patience from its listener — and the payoff is more than worth the price of admission.