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Nox - Blood, Bones and Ritual Death - 75%

ThrashManiacAYD, October 15th, 2010

Dutch deathsters Nox sit comfortably these days in the second tier of death metal, y'know the one, full of bands of highly competent musicians, good songwriting chops and the ability to get your head nodding at home and at the live show, but also with limited means with which to distinguish one act from another. This "Blood, Bones and Ritual Death" EP, which at least marks a change from the peculiarly named preceding releases of "Zazaz" and "Ixaxaar" is highly energetic and worthy of listen its entire 18 minutes through, yet aside from the fact it's Nox's first release in 3 years and band/label may have been concerned the fans out there would forget them I can't understand why they weren't saved to comprise a full-length. Five new compositions (including the fluent sweep-picking of intro "The Place Of Crossing") and a crustier (and improved) recording of "Ixaxaar"'s "Darkness Undying" make for hard to distinguish highlights given the top-level consistency throughout that would surely be suitable fodder for an LP, yet gripes aside they make for a pure pummelling death metal listen in the shorter format, leaving you gasping for more by the time "Procession Of Blood" closes out. Nox's speed is key to their belligerent power, the band seemingly capable of tempering the high speed riffing, blastbeats drumming and gruff vocal contributions into calculable passages and structures worthy of being considered brutal death metal akin to Deicide, Severe Torture and Skinless. Variation may not be Nox's forte, but that didn't stop Deicide reaching the pinnacle they have, did it?

If "Blood, Bones and Ritual Death" were crap I'd understand it's placing as an EP but with just one re-recording and its capable class why do we not get more? Mysteries aside, this EP has shown Nox in a better light than "Ixaxaar" did in 2007, suggesting an improved LP might be round the corner.

Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net