From the capital of Latvia, Riga-based post-metallers Nostra consists of Harijs Ijabs (guitar), Xavier Landes (bass), and Einārs Kotāns (drums). The Baltic trio have just unveiled their full-length follow-up to the 2019’s atmospheric, immersive Nemoralis. A near hour-long heavy soundscape is summoned on the new record Sea of Fertility, inspired by Japanese Nobel award-winning novelist Yukio Mishima’s The Decay of the Angel.
With Intronaut grooves and instrumental bliss alike Explosions in the Sky, opening track “Delta” is one of the most engaging pieces I’ve encountered of the subgenre in a long time. The bass lines are tactile heaviness, where guitars ring out like a foreign entity. “Holatchahl,” the following track, refers to the Russian mountain of many names (Kholat Syakhl, Dead Mountain, or Silent Peak) and holds infamy for the Dyatlov Pass incident when nine soviet hikers perished under peculiar circumstances. The music appropriately shares somber and sinister qualities on the level of modern masterminds Night Verses.
As instrumental music presents the challenge of telling a story absent of lyrics, Nostra‘s world-building abilities shine throughout Sea of Fertility. “Schwarzkunstler” is easily the heaviest composition laden with 17th century anxiety and drama:
“Consummatum est: this bill is ended,
And Faustus hath bequeathed his soul to Lucifer.”
Each song exhibits just the right amount of gradual growth, spoon-feeding the listener through states of lucid dreaming, particularly on the Mogwaiesque “Kyes.”
Furthermore, Nostra conjures much emotion with “Mantis” representing a near manic bliss, and “Low Hills and Deep Valleys” depicting the consequential comedown. Tension and serenity interplay even near the end of the tracklisting as well, shown in the contrast of the unnerving “The King in Yellow” and meditative closer “Pristine.” All together, this record sounds like the rebirth of post-metal. Sea of Fertitlity is smooth as a marble mausoleum, provocative like death.