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I must admit that I haven’t listened to anything from Nocturnal Vomit for quite few years now. Somewhere around 2004 I got their demo “Infernal Ascension of the Gods” and later I think I’ve also listened to their EP “Arts of Tenebrous Superstition”, but that was years ago and since then I just never had a chance to listen to anything from this Greek band. It may be due to the fact that that demo, which I mentioned, sounded rather mediocre and not as impressive to really bother about the band so much. I don’t know, anyway I kind of lost interest in Nocturnal Vomit. But at the same time I sort of kept watching what they were doing, I’ve also read some interviews with the band throughout these years and in 2012 I’ve found out the news about Nocturnal Vomit’s debut album, finally coming out after all these years of their activity. It was surely a good opportunity to go back to their music and check if I was interested in it at all. So, I purchased “Cursed Relics” on CD first (and soon later also on LP) and I must say that the music of this Greek band is nothing like what I have remembered from that old demo, which I mentioned. Of corpse there’s almost 10 years between both releases, but the progression and evolution, which the band went through in that time is huge.
One of the things for which I remembered “Infernal Ascension of the Gods” was its raw, harsh and primitive sounding and the music, which also was very raw, very chaotic and archaic as hell. It was mainly death metal oriented, but surely it also had some influence of the black and even the very old Teutonic thrash metal. Ha, I guess that moniker such as Nocturnal Vomit must have been there for something! But with “Cursed Relics” this name may be misleading, I mean someone may expect something more oppressive and blackened and assume that Nocturnal Vomit will be in the vein of Revenge, Black Witchery or Bestial Raids, but meanwhile “Cursed Relics” is nothing more or less, but 666% pure death metal album, played in the classic way and with the traditional meanings.
I’m glad to hear that Nocturnal Vomit got better in every aspect of the music – starting from the production, which is very brutal, heavy and massive, with awesome guitar tone, etc. This sound, together with the music and the raspy vocals, reminds me now the good, old Asphyx more than anything else. I mean Nocturnal Vomit uses the similar slow or mid paced riffing and tempos all the way through their album, plus Thomas Vomit really sounds like Martin van Drunen (or maybe Wannes Gubbels hehe?)… And because I love Asphyx, then obviously I also liked “Cursed Relics” a lot. But I think it would be totally unfair to just say that Nocturnal Vomit copies Asphyx, as they also have something original in their music plus I think that together with Asphyx some other bands, which influenced the Greeks would be Sadistic Intent, Pentacle, Mortem, Grave, Morgoth and Soulburn. So basically everything what’s best in the underground death metal! Obviously to mime the old bands is not quite enough to impress. If you don’t have that something extra in your music then it is a failure, but do not worry – Nocturnal Vomit has everything in the right place, including the heart and soul for this kind of death metal. This is very passionate, energetic and aggressive old school death metal and really the Greeks have gathered a bunch of absolutely killer and essential riffs around their neckbreaking songs and they really got it right. It’s even difficult to point out any standout tracks, as I see the whole album to be on the same high level, but maybe “Functions of Abomination” would be the one, which I liked most? Anyway, I strongly remind you, if you’re into the bands, which I’ve mentioned above, mainly Asphyx and Pentacle, then this is an album for you.
Another couple of words need to be said about the whole artwork for “Cursed Relics”. Nocturnal Vomit is not the first – and most likely not last – band, which have used the works of phenomenal Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński. I love his paintings also, as he managed to create a very unique and often very disturbing and dark atmosphere on this pictures. They certainly fit perfectly to death or black metal albums and the one, which has been used for “Cursed Relics” - or two, as the second one is on the back cover – are some of the best ones ever. On the vinyl cover they look just wonderfully, I love every detail of these paintings, including the colouring. Oh, I really wish that the LP version also had a huge poster with that artwork; I would certainly put it in frame and hang on the wall. Anyway, summing it all up (the music plus the artwork), it turns out that “Cursed Relics” is one of the most effective and memorable albums of the 2012 and one, which just has to be in your collection!
Standout tracks: no bad songs here… “Functions of Abomination”