Nocturnal Breed – Napalm Nights (PR2014) – The band’s first album in seven years finally comes upon us as a successor to the band’s previous release, Fields Of Rot and the band consists of former and present members of Dimmu Borgir, Satyricon, Aeternus and Gehenna, who have each (with the exception of Aeternus) released absolutely horrible records as of late. Apparently, these guys knew when it was time to book it; and when they finally did come together to make this album, it was all worth it. Nocturno Culto guests on the black/thrasher “Speedkrieg 4:55” and also does some backing vocals on a few other tracks.
Now as far as the album as whole is concerned, it’s very much a mix of black and thrash metal; but not so much of a strictly black/thrash album. For instance, the opener “The Devil Swept The Ruins 5:27” features a bit more groove and thrash than it does speed as well as some rather light-hearted and classical solo sections towards the end of the track. Most black/thrash sounds exactly like “Speedkrieg 4:55” which is good with Nocturno Culto’s addition of course; but as far as the song is concerned, it’s quite basic. “Cursed Beyond Recognition 6:51” features some great opening leads, as it definitely rolls right into black metal realms. So far, this band has shown me three tracks which are each completely different from each other. And that’s a memorable effort that’s worth waiting seven years for. “The Bitch Of Buchenwald 4:19” sounds a bit like Im-motorhead, while the nearly thirteen minute long title track (12:52) features some prog tinkering and technical stuff with a vocal approach that’s a mix between a high pitch Rob Halford and a scathing notion used in most black metal. But the frontman is not only capable of this approach, as he demonstrates other vocal styles on this record. “Thrashiac 5:50” plays with basic thrash, but with a more invigorated vocal scorn, making the frontman sound like he’s royally pissed about thrashing. The next three tracks just thrash, while the closer “Krigshisser (D.N.K.) is pure black metal and not even one bit thrash. It’s not expected, but it’s welcomed. These are some of the best in the business doing a tribute to what has now become a classic approach to black metal. So of course it sounds good.
Without saying much more about the songs, I can already affirm the fact that Napalm Nights is a truly great fucking record, from guys who are still trying to prove that they’ve got it. Maybe all three of the bands that put out shit this year, which these guys were apart should take a look at this album and see how well they’ve done with these classic styles – instead of going opera with Dimmu Borgir, maybe we should go back to fucking black metal. Maybe instead of the slow and droning tirades which composed the current Gehenna and Satyricon albums, both should go back to black metal. Satyr only made “Phoenix” a single because it was the only decent song on that whole fucking album and my friend nearly wrecked his vehicle while falling asleep to Gehenna’s Unravel. We could have literally blamed his death on such an awful album. And this is why Nocturnal Breed sounds so good right now. These guys sound like they know what they’re doing, and that’s because they’re doing what they know. You listen to these guys and tell that they weren’t in the mood to make slow and boring tirades or operatic froth; they just had to because that was the image. Give any of these guys an instrument and they’ll show you here on Napalm Nights what kind of music they’re capable of making. You know what? Even if the new Dimmu Borgir is loaded to the brim with djent riffs and deathcore vocals, I’ll be able to turn back and look at this little release on a small label like Agonia records and smile. Because I know with Napalm Nights, the true talents of these men have been displayed to immaculate perfection. Get off your ass and get this motherfucking album right now. You’ll enjoy listening to it while you build a campfire to burn your copies of Ahadabra, Satyricon and Unravel. Nocturnal Breed is what metal is supposed to be.
Highlights: The Devil Swept The Ruins, Speedkrieg, Cursed Beyond Recognition, Napalm Nights, Krigshisser (D.N.K.) (10 Tracks, 64:00)