On September 15th, Seance Records is proud to present the highly anticipated third album of Nocturnes Mist, Diabolical Baptism. Following quickly on the heels of last year's scorching second album, March to Perdition, Diabolical Baptism completes an unholy trinity of albums that forever establishes Nocturnes Mist as one of the darkest and most uncompromising antipodean forces. More savage, more immediate, and more engaging, the band goes from strength to strength here, heralding a new era for their characteristically Aussie black metal.
Nocturnes Mist's Diabolical Baptism is a work of traditional black metal inspired by the occult and Satan. After watching The Omen trilogy, the band was inspired to write a song based upon the iconic film score, "Ave Satani," and in doing so, this song influenced the tone of the album. Diabolical Baptism is a work inspired by high Satanism, both its medieval origins as well as the presence of Satan and the occult in the contemporary world: from The Omen trilogy to Ken Russel’s classic The Devils (from which a sample is used on the song "Barbs of Sadism) to the illustrations from the works of Lord of De Lancre, the infamous French witch-finder and demonologist of the 17th Century. His image of the Black Mass, the witches Sabbath in addition to horror, both fictional demonic terror and the real life terrors of the medieval age and inquisition, coupled with a fascination for clandestine ceremonies of the left-hand path - all come together with each song representing another page of Nocturnes Mist’s musical grimoire, a tale written in homage to Satan and the vivid imagery that he has inspired throughout the ages.
The lavish artwork throughout Diabolical Baptism, by the hand of modern master Jenglot Hitam, is a re-imagining of Lord of De Lancre’s Black Mass and Witches Sabbath - and here, from Satanic inspiration emerges a new level of primal energy and brutality for Nocturnes Mist. Harsh compositions and raw fury have engulfed symphonic elements, with keyboards only momentarily emerging to highlight mood and atmosphere. The transition of style was not intentional; rather, it's a subconscious evolution reflecting the band’s collective energy whilst writing the album. As a result, Diabolical Baptism is a natural manifestation of evil and hatred, a return to the raw, unadulterated energy of early '90s black metal and a vehement outpouring sparked by frustration with the continued dilution of the genre. Diabolical Baptism is a rekindling of Nocturnes Mist's devotion to black metal, its roots, the feeling and conviction stemming back to the origins of the band, their influences, and the energy that originally galvanized them in the '90s.
Nocturnes Mist was formed in Adelaide, South Australia in 1997 and have since remained veiled in mystery and fog. The band was ignited amidst a strong movement of bands from South Australia such as Stargazer, Cauldron Black Ram, Mournful Congregation, Darklord, and Beyond Mortal Dreams among others. However, Nocturnes Mist remained undeservedly underrated and overlooked, as black metal had yet to reach the peak of its popularity in Australia and Australian bands were hindered by isolation, great distance between states, and poor distribution in the days before the internet was widely available in households.
Embodying the spirit of '90's black metal, Nocturnes Mist's music unites ferocity with darkness, cold vengeance with symphonic poetry, and chilling atmospheres with sheer heaviness. Truly borne from the '90s and the influence of first- and second-wave black metal, early on, Nocturnes Mist created symphonic black metal in the style of early Emperor, Satyricon, Abigor, and Nazxul. Denying the lightweight flourishes of what symphonic black metal evolved into by the end of the '90s, Nocturnes Mist remained firmly rooted in the traditional style and ideals of black metal, incorporating rawness, heaviness, dark atmosphere, and a true feeling of aggression characterized within the Australian scene.
The Southern Storms demo EP was released in 1998 by the band and limited in availability, only being traded via mail and sold at the few shows which the band played between 1999-2000. These shows were some of the first black metal shows in South Australia and are now legendary landmarks in the evolution of OZBM. Armed with a full lineup and instilled with the aesthetic ideals of traditional black metal, these shows were impressive rituals of dark, intense heaviness as the band performed in full corpsepaint, gauntlets, and created a lavish scene of gothic candelabras and candlelit atmosphere. Two self-titled demos followed in 2000 and 2004, but these were not widely circulated, and the songs were later reworked & re-recorded in 2009 to become part of what is now the As Flames Burn album, which remained unreleased until 2013.
Nocturnes Mist predated most of the bands that form the current Australian black metal scene, but in a case of being ahead of their time, they slowly slipped into obscurity. Seance Records reignited the flame in 2013 with the first official release of As Flames Burn. The songs were remixed and mastered yet stylistically represent the early era of this band and their body of work to date. The CD also included the Southern Storms tracks as a bonus. Forging ahead, the band soon recorded their second full-length, March to Perdition, released in 2016 by Seance Records. The ten new songs comprising the album were characteristic of the band’s style: unpretentious and atmospheric, yet instilled with a raw, savage element to surpass what has come before. Each song was crafted with skillful writing and musicianship while not losing the energy and spontaneity that fortified the band's lofty position as forerunners of OZBM.
Whereas March to Perdition solidified their style within classic, '90s-rooted symphonic black metal, on Diabolical Baptism, Nocturnes Mist strip back everything to the rawest, blood-red essentials, maintaining exemplary songwriting and their established identity whilst uncovering new, previously-unexplored territory by, paradoxically, going more primitive. Subtle synth touches still exist, of course, but Diabolical Baptism is aptly fucking titled: this is a torrential rebirth.