A Spectral Ascension


The last time I wrote about Penang-based NONSERVIAM, they just got nominated for a Global […]
By Dorothy Cheng
April 29, 2014
Nonserviam - A Spectral Ascension album cover

The last time I wrote about Penang-based NONSERVIAM, they just got nominated for a Global Metal Apocalypse Best Breakthrough Asian Band Award. The ball hasn't stopped rolling for them, as these Melodic Death Metal boys have just had another huge life event to drown in - the release of their new album "A Spectral Ascension".

Their EP "Ordinance of Reason" was exceptionally well-received by other critics and myself, so the challenge this time was to live up to that benchmark they had previously set. However, by the end of the album, it was no longer about whether they had surpassed expectations with "A Spectral Ascension", but rather if they will continue to keep outdoing themselves with every new album. That's right, folks - the verdict isn't only about this new album, it's about every new one they're expected to have, because after this listen, you just know these guys have so much to offer to the scene and that they're entirely equipped to keep doing it for the long run.

The same melody-heavy approach with creative rhythmic variance that we heard in "Ordinance of Reason" was expanded upon in this new album. You know a band is hardworking when each successive song on their album is built upon all the elements present on the previous. It only goes to show their vision and foresight and all the effort they put into planning out the album. Of course, an important component of NONSERVIAM's music is the ideology firmly embedded in their music - and these outspoken guys do not shy away from self-expression. The album is richly coded with their opinions, giving it a genuine edge in depth that many Melodic Death Metal bands lack. Their main concern is still obviously the music, but there is equal attention paid to other elements that make an album: the streamlined theme, descriptive atmosphere, and most importantly the quality of the packaging. And by packaging here I don't mean the CD cover or how it's wrapped. I'm talking about the overall putting together of the album as a whole: the writing process, the recording, the tracking... it's been brought together sophisticatedly and professionally. When I write of quality, I'm not talking about sound quality. Sound quality matters little in the big picture of things. I'm talking about the big picture of the album - the overall execution and production. That being said, the album was produced, mixed, and mastered by Rob Caldwell so that is a huge plus.

The stereotype is that international bands are always more organized, focused, and equipped to produce quality products. NONSERVIAM has proven that stereotype unwarranted as "A Spectral Ascension" can honestly be said to be better in quality than some of the stuff released by significantly bigger bands. The joy of listening to a true quality album for the first time is indescribable, but every reviewer knows it. Going through the amount of material we do, it has become incredibly easy to point out flaws and scrutinize shaky areas of releases. But we all need to be reminded that there is a wealth of musicians out there capable of restoring one's faith in the industry. NONSERVIAM is such a band, and whatever else that is to come from them in the future is already set up to be greater than the last.

9 / 10

Almost Perfect

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"A Spectral Ascension" Track-listing:

1. A Spectral Ascension
2. Portrait of Despair
3. I Am Eternal
4. Martyrized
5. Amongst the Scorned
6. Shrouds of Irreverence
7. Faith Devoided
8. Dreamscape: Desolation
9. Dystopia
10. Insidious Nihilistic Regimental Indoctrination

Nonserviam Lineup:

Leon - Vocals
Valent - Drums
Gary - Guitars
Payden - Synth & Sampler
Zeon - Bass
Vinoth - Guitars

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