|Title:||Momenta Quintae Essentiae|
Nature is truth. "Momenta Quintae Essentiae" is nature. This is an opening statement that strikes us as extremely ambitious but, after all, the English composer who works under the monicker Nhor has always seeked a contact of the highest kind with the natural world.
According to his core beliefs, mankind needs to fill nature with meaning, that will in turn influence our perception of that same nature that surrounds us. These are ideas that have been hovering around in the black metal scene for quite a while now, so what is it that makes Nhor different from the rest? We might say that this specific album took some distance from the (really interesting) previous works, that were at times closer to other naturalistic black metal projects.
The main difference in "Momenta Quintae Essentiae" ("moments of the fifth essence"), is that there is hardly any metal at all, but let's begin with the visual aspects. The artwork is a beautifully minimal and elegant drawing of leaves — white background, black lines, white filling, no trace of the band logo or the name of the album — a perfect gateway to the record itself. The title refers to the fifth essence, the element that in traditional philosophy connected the four main elements (water, earth, fire, air) and was commonly considered as being out of human reach or comprehension. Nhor — as usual, in charge of each single conceptual and musical part of the record — chose Latin as the only language for the song titles, that all hint at particular fragments of experience, locations, aiming at a new kind of relationship with nature, "without any judgement or interpretation". Nature is neither benevolent nor evil, it simply is there, it doesn't behave as a bearer of meaning, and even the few sparse vocals (as in "Contra Ventum") do not really try to give specific meanings to the environment.
The music on here is something extremely distant from metal, despite sharing a few conceptual traits with its more atmospheric varieties. The album is a bit reminiscent of the 2010 EP "Upon Which Was Written In The Stars", but developed over a longer time and with much more conceptual continuity. The main instrument is the piano, sparsely accompanied by acoustic guitars ("Hedera"), and the final result is a coherent piece of music ideally to be enjoyed in one sitting, although each track is structured as a single "moment" and can be taken on its own as well. Nhor once again showed what he is capable of, changing the course of his journey and going somewhere new, but still a place closely linked to his previous work and his main influences (Empyrium is quite clearly on top of the list).
If you are into atmospheric instrumental music (especially piano), you will really enjoy this record. If you aren't, this will probably be a great starting point in order to get used to certain sounds. The English musician is arguably one of the most interesting "new" names on Prophecy Productions roster — that is, among the ones that have less than ten years of career — and "Momenta Quintae Essentiae" will also be a great album to listen to in the winter.