NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST // Creating a new world with “ARGOS”

Following their “counterattack” in 2020 NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST released a new mini-album called “The Wasteland” as well as a single called “THE ONE”, both releases including their new guitarists Valtz and Yu-taro. The addition of these two guitarists seems to have filled the band with power and determination, despite the difficult situation raging all over the world in the form of a global pandemic.

In early May of this year the band released their first full album with their new lineup in the form of “ARGOS”, and oh boy they did not hold anything back on this release.
The album comes in two different versions, an “EXTREME EDITION” which contains the album itself, an extra instrumental CD with new instrumental works and a DVD containing the music video and making of footage for the song “Cremation”, a recording documentary and the music videos and visualizers for previously released songs, and to top it off a livestream video from the 2020 live.
On the contrary, the “regular edition” comes as a CD only version.

For this review we’ll be looking at the “EXTREME” version of the release, since there is the most new material on this version for fans to enjoy. However, the review will be limited to only the album disc and the second instrumental disc. (Meaning: we’re going to ignore the DVD for this review, I have to leave something for you to discover for yourself don’t I?)

We have a lot to go through today, so are you ready? Let’s go!

 

The Devastated World

(Music: Valtz)
NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST have been using introduction tracks in their works for many years now, and “ARGOS” is no exception to this familiar formula. “The Devastated World” is a composition by Valtz, and he clearly got the memo on how to build up the anticipation for this album through the use of an ominous atmosphere that is reminiscent of an introduction used for a movie. The introduction track paves the way for the first full song of the album to take over immediately after…

 

Red Soil

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Valtz)
The previous two releases of the group already showed us that the direction the band took for their initial comeback release has been thrown out the window, and rather than using a metalcore standing point the group is now back to a heavier style that sounds surprisingly familiar for the group, even though the lineup has changed and the styles of both Valtz and Yu-taro are completely different than the styles of their predecessors.
“Red Soil” is a powerful song filled to the brim with both the typical NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST formula as well as the new vision brought in by their two new members, creating a powerful combination that very much paints the picture of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST.

 

Straight to the sky (feat. Luiza)

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Yu-taro)
“Straight to the sky” continues the pace that was put down by “Red Soil” in terms of tempo and aggression, but instead of being composed by Valtz, this song comes from the other new guitarist: Yu-taro. And the differences in choices and preferences is clearly audible in this song. Throughout their career you could already sort of tell which member was responsible for the composition of a song, and that hasn’t changed either. Yu-taro was responsible for the composition of “Reviver” during the counterattack of 2020-series, and his style is very obvious in this song too.
It was revealed prior to the release of the album that there was a guest-vocalist in the leading music video for this album, but “Straight to the sky” features a female vocalist by the name of Luiza, a Romanian-Japanese vocalist who was part of a group called “The Winking Owl” from their start in 2010 to their suspension of activities in 2020 due to creative differences. Her soft, longing vocals add a unique dimension to the song and actually take off some of the aggression during the parts her vocals join with 尋 (Hiro)’s. Their combination is unique, and thus create a song that is unique even on this album.

 

Life is Once

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Masa)
“Life is Once” was previously released as the first part in the counterattack of 2020-series, which also means it’s one of the “older” songs on this album. Despite being released before “The Wasteland” (which had a completely different approach than “ARGOS” does now) it doesn’t feel like this song has been included to add an additional number to the tracklist of this album. “Life is Once” displays exactly the same power as the two songs before it, while also being a typical Masa-composition (similar to their song “Live to Die”, which was also a composition from Masa. Do you see what I mean by “you can sort of guess which member composed what song”?)
I have written a more in-depth review for this track when it first came out as it’s own single, if you’d be interested in reading more about it, you can do so here.

 

Dagger

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Valtz)
On the release day of “ARGOS” the band celebrated through an “online release party” together with fans who could tune in from all over the world. Despite the obvious shenanigans and hilarious commentary throughout the broadcast, drummer Natsu also revealed what his favorite song on this album was. And you’ve probably guessed it by now, since you’re absolutely right, it is “Dagger”. 😉
“Dagger” is easily the heaviest and most aggressive song on the album, showcasing from start to finish what NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST are capable of with this lineup. Everything is pulled up to the EXTREME with this one, creating a version of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST we haven’t seen before, but I certainly hope we will see again in the future. The combination of both guitars with the bass, drums and 尋 (Hiro)’s vocals create a world of chaos like no other, appealing to heavy metal fans through nothing but sheer power. Oh, and did I mention that the lyrics for this song are quite literally screaming bloody murder? Pretty much everything NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST is capable of in one extreme package.
I have to say, I’m with Natsu on this one. I normally don’t share which songs are my personal favorites, but on “ARGOS” it’s “Dagger”, no doubt about it.

 

THE ARGOS

(Music: Valtz / Arrangement: Masa)
Where “Dagger” built up all the power, “THE ARGOS” is here to slow you down again to catch your breath, because if you heard the music video for “Cremation” already then you know what’s coming next. “THE ARGOS” very much serves as an introduction to “Cremation”, but just like “The Devastated World” this composition is just as worthy of being featured in a movie or even video game.

 

Cremation (feat. PK of Prompts)

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Valtz)
“Cremation” was revealed as a preview for the band’s new style through a music video several weeks prior to the release of the album already, surprising fans from all over the world with not only the band’s new sound, but also with the story that is being told through both the lyrics and the video itself.
尋 (Hiro) is no stranger to the concept of “painfully honest lyrics”, which I have pointed out so often at this point that I feel like it’s becoming a broken record on my end. “Cremation” is no exception with it’s corruption and sense of justice, which is performed not just by 尋 (Hiro), but also by PK, the vocalist of Prompts who adds a higher note into the vocals, but also teams up surprisingly well with 尋 (Hiro) as a duo.
This song is the music video for the album, sure, but the visual style is reminiscent of a movie, a theme that has been returning throughout “ARGOS” multiple times now. You’d almost believe it’s a preview for a full movie, it’s just been put together that well visually speaking.

 

Bow Down

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Masa)
The theatrical performance from “Cremation” is quickly followed up by a high speed composition from Masa (again, instantly recognizable as his work too). But rather than being an aggressive story about corruption and destruction, “Bow Down” is actually the complete opposite of it’s name. If the lyrics are anything to go off of, it’s more a message to not give up. NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST has shown in the last years that they don’t give up, but they’re definitely not about to “Bow Down” to anything or anyone either.

 

ONLY HUMAN

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Valtz)
Just like “Life is Once” “ONLY HUMAN” is also part of the counterattack of 2020-series, and also the first revealed composition of Valtz (despite being credited as “NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST” at that time due to the whole “mystery guitarist” aspect. Regardless, just like “Life is Once” it doesn’t feel like “ONLY HUMAN” was added to this album as an extra number on the tracklist. While clearly being composed while “ARGOS” was not in the works yet, the song is similar enough to fit both the theme and the sound of the album, through both it’s by now “typical” Valtz-style composition that returns on this album constantly and 尋 (Hiro)’s “painfully honest lyrics”.
Again, just like with “Life is Once” I’ve written a more in depth review of “ONLY HUMAN” when it was first released as it’s own digital single. You can find this review here.

 

Eris

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Yu-taro)
Following “ONLY HUMAN” is “Eris”, one of the more unique compositions on “ARGOS”. While the majority of the album breathes the composition style of Valtz, there are also a few songs from the other new guitarist. The style of “Eris” isn’t as heavy as some of the other songs on this release, it does match up very well due to it’s theatrical performance. The approach might be different, but Yu-taro has challenged 尋 (Hiro) to make use of both his full vocal range as well as his different skills and vocal styles.
While “Eris” does feel like it’s leading up to the end of “ARGOS”, it creates a very entertaining and diverse song in which 尋 (Hiro) can put his frustration and aggression in his lyrics one more time.

 

THE ONE

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Masa)
We’ve seen “THE ONE” as it’s very own single before “ARGOS” as well, but the fact that it is included in this album is not surprising in the slightest. Following “Eris” was probably the best position this song could be put, because it’s every bit as theatrical as the song before it. Whether or not “THE ONE” was composed with “ARGOS” being in the works already or not is impossible to say without hearing the answer from the members themselves, but the style is extremely different than the new songs found on the album. Regardless “THE ONE” is a very clear example of the positive side of the members, one that clearly has been restored by Valtz and Yu-taro joining the group. The sound of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST still is diverse, which this song clearly proves once more. But if this song is anything to go off of, at least their hope and faith as a group that fell apart several years ago has now been restored, and they’re ready to take on the future.

 

Reviver

(Words: 尋 (Hiro) / Music: Yu-taro)
The final song of the album is also the final song in the counterattack of 2020-series, but unlike the other two I have not written a solo review for this song when it came out. So rather than using what we knew back then I’ll use what we know now. “Reviver” is the first song that Yu-taro composed for the group under the guise of “mystery guitarist”, and while the song is instantly familiar as a NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST song, it very much feels like Yu-taro was still testing the waters and the realm of possibilities at this time, much like Valtz was with “ONLY HUMAN”. Comparing both songs to what both guitarists have composed on this album paints two entirely different pictures, but if you include the two other songs you have to include this one as well, even if it feels like this song is the least fitting one for this album (even though it’s a very close call with “THE ONE”, which also doesn’t feel like it should have been on this album specifically).

 

Instrumental disc

Aside from most of the “ARGOS” album being on this disc in it’s instrumental form (“The Devastated World” and “THE ARGOS” are not included, but these are instrumental compositions by itself already) there are also four original instrumental compositions on this disc, in the form of “Run Away”, “Descent to Earth”, “The Final Decision” and “The Fear Inside” as well as an orchestral version for “Cremation”.
The instrumental discs opens with the orchestral version for “Cremation”, which as the version suggests puts a lot more emphasis on the theatrical version of it through the orchestral approach.
“Run Away”, “Descent to Earth”, “The Final Decision” and “The Fear Inside” are all original compositions by Masa. NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST has included original instrumental songs on the second discs of their releases before (like “Empire” on the EXTREME EDITION of “THE OMNIGOD”), and every single time they do this they turn themselves into a band with a completely different approach than when they do make use of 尋 (Hiro)’s vocals. The inclusion of these four songs as well as the orchestral version of “Cremation” creates a soundtrack that is worthy of a movie or a video game before presenting us with the instrumental version of “ARGOS” as we just heard it. Which is always an interesting aspect because vocals can mask things you wouldn’t hear normally because of them. If you’re interested in hearing the more technical, voiceless side of “ARGOS” this is absolutely where to look for it.

 

Conclusion

“ARGOS” is an album that is packed to the EXTREME, and that’s not because of the “EXTREME EDITION” having so much extra material included along with it. Guitarists Valtz and Yu-taro joining the lineup has removed some restraints that the group had put on themselves prior (probably to appeal to the heavier side of the ヴィジュアル系 (Visual Kei) genre through the visual aspect?) and have allowed NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST to follow their hearts to a genre they truly enjoy – something you can hear throughout the entirety of “ARGOS”.

While the songs on the album are a mix of both new songs composed especially for this album as well as some older songs that have been released before, it is a milestone in the career of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST so far. The heavier style these guys clearly love has been returned to them, and resulted in an album like only they can create.
Could “ARGOS” have done without the four extra songs from previous singles? In my opinion: Yes. But the inclusion of all of these songs does make sense, since “ARGOS” is very much a new beginning for the band, and two of these four songs were the first compositions of the new members where they were still testing the waters on what was possible and what wasn’t.

And even though they have filled the “EXTREME EDITION” of this album to well… the extreme… it really doesn’t mean that the regular edition is something to ignore entirely. By itself “ARGOS” is a really powerful album that shows the capabilities of NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST like they have intended, similar to the style they had when they first started out many years ago. (Think releases like the mini-album “Ivy” and the “Last relapse” single.)
Another similarity to their previous releases is that the artwork for this one has also been made by Isana Kagami (“BLACKINK”), which doesn’t do much for the sound of the band, but very much makes it a familiar sight in stores and on shelves.

It has been a while, but NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST is back from the shadows in which they have been hiding in, and if “ARGOS” is anything to go off of, they’re now stronger than ever. So keep your eyes peeled, these guys aren’t done with us from a musical standpoint yet!

 

Release information

Are you interested in supporting the band by getting your own copy of the release? Here is something to get you started:

ARGOS
(Limited edition)
Disc 1
01. The Devastated World
02. Red Soil
03. Straight to the sky (feat. Luiza)
04. Life is Once
05. Dagger
06. THE ARGOS
07. Cremation (feat. PK of Prompts)
08. Bow Down
09. ONLY HUMAN
10. Eris
11. THE ONE
12. Reviver

Disc 2 (Bonus/Instrumental)
01. Cremation (Orchestral version)
02. Run Away
03. Descend to Earth
04. The Final Decision
05. The Fear Inside
06. THE END OF SORROW
07. Red Soil (Instrumental)
08. Straight to the sky (Instrumental)
09. Life is Once (Instrumental)
10. Dagger (Instrumental)
11. Cremation (Instrumental)
12. Bow Down (Instrumental)
13. ONLY HUMAN (Instrumental)
14. Eris (Instrumental)
15. THE ONE (Instrumental)
16. Reviver (Instrumental)

DVD
01. Cremation (feat. PK of Prompts) (Music Video)
02. Cremation (feat. PK of Prompts) (Music Video Making)
03. ARGOS Recording Documentary
04. THE ONE (Music Video)
05. FACELESS (Music Video)
06. Life is Once (Visualizer)
07. ONLY HUMAN (Lyric Video)
08. Reviver (Visualizer)
09. Corruption (Visualizer)
10. Life is Once (Livestream 2020)
ARGOS
(Regular edition)
01. The Devastated World
02. Red Soil
03. Straight to the sky (feat. Luiza)
04. Life is Once
05. Dagger
06. THE ARGOS
07. Cremation (feat. PK of Prompts)
08. Bow Down
09. ONLY HUMAN
10. Eris
11. THE ONE
12. Reviver

Artist: NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST
Release: ARGOS (album)
Release date: May 4, 2022
CD number: DCCA-94~96 (Extreme edition) / DCCA-97 (Regular edition)

Available at: MAVERICK STORE / CDJapan / Spotify / Deezer

 

Follow NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST

NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST



(Hiro)
🎂 11/28

Valtz

🎂 06/19


Yu-taro

🎂 ??/??

Masa

🎂 04/02

Natsu

🎂 07/31

 

雪 (Yuki) is the owner and driving force behind both Arlequin Magazine and Arlequin Photography.  
She started in 2009 as a photographer with Arlequin Photography, but due to a growing interest in journalism, translation and behind-the-scenes work in general the project burst out of it's seams in 2021 and expanded through the addition of Arlequin Magazine.

雪 (Yuki) is a native Dutch speaker and maintains both the English and Dutch sections of both Magazine and Photography with original content, translations and photography as well as all the behind-the-scenes work for both websites.
She speaks Dutch, English, Japanese and German.

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