One of the things I could list as a band I wanted to hear was a blackened power metal band. One of those bands that successfully incorporates black metal esthetics and atmosphere with the production, speed, and vibe of power metal. I had heard a few bands people said were blackened power like Bal-Sagoth (I love them by the way this is by no means derogatory towards them) but they didn’t have the sound that I had been hoping for. I resigned myself to never getting to hear that sort of metal and lo and behold here comes Númenor. Obviously I was originally attracted to the name (being the biggest Tolkien nerd in all of New Mexico) but as I listened to Swords and Sorcery I realized that this was the sound I had been searching for. Right here was the band I thought I was never going to find. Swords and Sorcery, the album itself not the music, was a little confusing to me though when I began looking into it. The album originally came out in 2015 under Stormspell Records but then Stygian Crypt Productions, their original label, released a remix edition with 5 additional songs. I wasn’t confused as to which was which of course but rather which one should I review since they were the same album by essentially totally different. It’s taken me a few days to decide (no it wasn’t that hard a decision I just wanted to be correct) and I’ve decided to review the remixed album that was released in 2016.
I loved the hell out of this. It really was like the culmination of everything I wanted blackened power metal to be, and on top of that it was a lot of Tolkien based lyrics! It wasn’t all Tolkien but I can deal with that. The sound was like Summoning decided to cover Blind Guardian, or vice versa I haven’t figured out which yet but the main point I’m making is that the two biggest names related to power metal, black metal, and Tolkien metal have been combined to create something wonderful.
The guitars are fast and reed thin and, just as they should be and the production was pretty grim, but not so grim that it felt Númenor was trying to get into Darkthrone territory. No, they have created a production style all their own. It’s not easy combining two very, very different genres and not letting it sound like a dying cat in a whirlwind. I think the best analogy I could make is they poured white and black paint together and came up with this, it’s not really either one but you can pick out elements of each one. The vocals range from some pretty gnarly black metal growls to some beautiful clean vocals. I was impressed most by the vocals, the range displayed by the vocalist was impressive. It’s easy, relatively speaking, to have a vocalist who can growl and do a passable clean vocal; it’s not easy to find a vocalist who can growl and can actually sing.
I liked the remixed version of the album better because the additional five songs made the album feel more complete. The original had a lot of intro pieces so it felt like there weren’t enough chapters in the book so to speak. With the additional songs the story Númenor was telling felt complete and rounded. Normally extra songs are skippable but I found each of the new songs to add favor to the album as a whole, as though they were meant to be there.
Overall I think this album was a triumph, I never thought I would see a band like this and to have found one that really knows how make music really makes the music special. Now I know I might have been alone in my search for blackened power metal but even if I am, this something that you should here, it’s a little bit of Blind Guardian with a little bit of Summoning, but mostly it’s just Númenor.
Listen and support!