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Like Toxic Homocaust and the others who arrived in the late influx of deluded scenesters claiming "old school, not retro", Nocturnal Graves pride themselves on performing bland, lowest common denominator metal that serves nothing higher than self parody. Upon reading the list of influences this band cite, one would instantly assume this album was going to be an over-the-top brew of adventurous violencia. Unfortunately, it is as stale, predictable, hip and trendy as Toxic Homocaust, Municipal Waste and the ilk. That is not to say that the music mirrors the aesthetic style of those particular bands, but the "look at me, I'm an alcoholic maniac teenager posing in front of a wall of Whiplash, Blasphemy and Sarcofago-LPs" attitude is there in spades.
The problem with this band is that rather than taking the adventurous and genuinely occult attempts made by the bulk of their cited influences and expanding (the way in which bands such as Portal did), they create an album based on the most superficial elements of South American legends like Sarcofago, Parabellum etc. It sounds as if this album was "crafted" from a checklist rather than a sincere desire to build on the works of the far superior early bands: 3rd rate Possessed/Sepultura riffs, check.. bestial vocals, check. Lyrical themes perfected by Kreator/Sodom etc over 2 decades ago, check.
None of the riffs/structures/progressions that occur here can even stand as a 4th rate rip of the dangerous, threatening pioneers this band are so desperately try to sit with. So, what do you do when you want to be in a social club of indiscriminate teenagers who really want to belong to something? Make your voice loud and heard (even if you have nothing to say), mask your lack of ideas in the "old school" mentality and enjoy sitting around sucking eachother's dick about how you're keeping an old flame alive. This band know they can't paint a Mona Lisa, but hopefully this review will also inform them that they can't even trace it very well either.
There are a few bands who are showing genuine respect to the pioneers by not just emulating them badly, and building on their essence. This band have no essence and you can add them to the massive list of trendies who are in a band for the sake of making local trendies smile. Try Portal for a band who are really exploring the occult blueprints laid out by Hadez, Parabellum, Sarcofago, etc. Try Lust for a band who have potential. It's better to try and fail than to just pander and be local heros. This album gets 2 points, one for not being an Adam Sandler movie and 1 point because I was able to trade this steaming pile of turd for a ham and cheese crossaint. Avoid!
Not only the Norwegian BM scene seems to be an incest of a few persons, their friends and even their women, who have dozens of side project and take parts in all of their friends’ side projects as well. There’s a similar situation in Australia as well – members and former members of such bands as Hobb’s Angel of Death, Destroyer 666, Gospel of the Horns, Destruktor, Bestial Warlust and more created many projects that play great oldschool Thrash, Black and Death Metal (such as Trench Hell, Kill for Satan and more).
The difference between what’s going on in Norway and Australia, in my opinion, is the fact that contrary to the Norwegians, the Australians are still loyal to the backbone to the Oldschool stuff they’ve been listening to (and some of them also playing) since the 80’s, while the Norwegians changed their opinions about the Black Metal they were making in the 90’s, changed their genres, split their bands up and later reformed that very bands, probably because they thought that comebacks are profitable enough even if you don’t have the same passion and feeling and simply dislike the music you were once creating yourself…
One of the best bands that were formed by ex-members of Destruktor, Destroyer 666 and others is Nocturnal graves, which keeps receiving great feedbacks in the underground ever since it was formed in 2004. They got even more attention thanks to the 7” pic ep “Necromancer”, which was released on Deathstrike Records in 2006.
Yosuke from NWN! Noticed this band’s potential, made a conclusion that they deserve being released on such a killer label as the one he owns and signed a contract with them, to release their new album. These maniacs put all their effort in analog recording and production process of this Death/Thrash monster and the result is a masterpiece done in the best Australian traditions!
After the satanic intro, comes the storm of chaotic devastation in a shape of 7 unholy tracks about Satan, skulls, whores, demons and other related stuff. The lyrics aren’t the strong side of this album and it’s not really interesting in my opinion, but if you got sick and tired of the huge wave of new Thrash bands that sound just fuckin’ the same, the music on this album can satisfy all your Metal needs for sure! Aggressive drumming and riffs, faaaaasr solos, a bass that can fuckin’ explode a poser’s skull and raw vokillz in the vein of 80’s German Thrash. And don’t forget that as I wrote before, all this was produced in an analog way, which definitely justifies the fact that this album was released on NWN! in vinyl format, done the killer luxury NWN! way!
I have the beautiful Die Hard edition PicLP, which also features a poster, a sticker and a patch. The regular black vinyl version features a poster as well and the CD version costs only 5$, just like almost every CD on Yosuke’s distro. So there are no excuses left – those who want quality – don’t tell that I didn’t point to the very place where it can’t be found!
This band came to me as a surprise. Nocturnal Graves, albeit not the most clever and original band name out there, this album has a fucking lot to offer. Actually there isn't a single death metal release in the past at least 15-or so years that I can think of that beats this one. Here's why.
A moody, albeit a bit overlong, intro starts this which soon evolves into "Aggressive Exterminator" - one of the greatest songs on the album. Fast, aggressive and fucking kickass all the way through. "Rotten Cremation" follows the same formula with a perfect intro riff. At first notice, "Skullthrone" gets me a slightly less good impression. This impression don't last long when one of the most kickass riffs Nocturnal Graves has ever produced kicks in. Now, "Whore of Sodom" is one of the greatest songs ever written. From the magic intro part to the even more incredibly awesome ending. "Nocturnal Maniac" kicks ass in the same hysteric way and so does "When the Demons Feast" and "The Pestilence Crucified". Finally the title track kicks in which leaves me in ecstasy.
If you fancy old-sounding death metal with a blackish edge to it, you'll love this. Fucking top notch. This is god-damn incredrible; it has it all. The drummer is amazing in both terms of speed and creativity. The riffing is perfect, and the vocals leave nothing to wish for. I have never longed more for a next album.
Badass all the way through. Essential.