One of the first significant heavy metal bands to emerge out of Ukraine following the fracture of the Soviet Union, Nokturnal Mortum were also among the first (though hardly the last) to mesh black metal with pagan/medieval themes and their own native folk music, plus, at times, symphonic elements -- a format inspired primarily by the late-‘80s work of Sweden's Bathory.
Nokturnal Mortum‘s roots date back to late 1991, in the city of Karkhov, where vocalist/guitarist Knjaz Varggoth, bassist Xaarquath, and drummer Munruthel started a death metal band named Suppuration, recording a few demos before renaming themselves Crystaline Darkness in 1993, and then Nokturnal Mortum a year later, whereupon they also embraced black metal and its dire consequences. Several demos (collected on 1996's Lunar Poetry album) and a pair of 1997 EPs (Return of the Vampire Lord and Marble Moon) set the stage for the group's proper full-length debut via that same year's Goat Horns LP, by which time Nokturnal Mortum's lineup had been expanded to include guitarist Karpath and two keyboard players, Sataroth and Saturious, to flesh out their burgeoning orchestral ambitions. Released by The End Records, along with 1998's To the Gates of Blasphemous Fire and 1999's NeChrist, these efforts garnered widely positive press on their musical merits, but those quickly became obscured by the band's ideological affiliation to the National Socialist (i.e. Nazi) Black Metal minority, leading to increasing marginalization from the heavy metal mainstream and the severing of ties by The End. Nokturnal Mortum wouldn't be heard from again until 2004 and their Taste of Victory EP, but they weren't heard by many because this, along with subsequent albums Weltanschauung (2005) and The Voice of Steel (2009), were understandably avoided like plagues by wary major metal labels and released only by small independents willing to overlook or endorse the band's reprehensible philosophies. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia, Rovi