Friday, January 30, 2015

Nocturnus:"the Science of Horror"

Who cares if these are just unearthed demos, they are going to be better than most of the shit out there. Reason being...Mike Browning was one of the founding members of Morbid Angel and " the Key" is a fucking classic death metal album, and one of the first to use keyboards prominently. The later part of this album goes back to 1987 before they included the keys. This is raw as most black metal, but has a strong thrash current running through it's veins. Guitar solos blowing your mind at every turn. Some of the chugs on here are just tough as hell. There is no way you can not head bang to this. This band separates the men from the poseurs. In 1992  after recording the "Thresholds album, Browning was fired from the band he created, so this chronicles the path to "the Key".

For a demo the vocals sound great on  the first version of "Before Christ After Death." The effects give almost a Voi Vod feel to them and the call and response on the chorus is just great classic metal."Standing In Blood" is the first song on here where the keys really reach out and grab you. The accent the punches perfectly. This creates a more progressive element than the band is commonly remembered for. These songs are raw and ravaging, a clear stepping stone to the sound they achieved on the Key.This rawness translates well on songs like "Undead Journey"which carries an unearthly chug. Jeff Estes proves he is the most under rated bassist in death metal.

Things get even more primitive on the demos that follow as it spotlights the days before the band included keyboards. You can hear Morbid Angel's root woven into this. The sound quality at time really makes these diamonds in the rough. But if you are a tape collecting hipster who likes stuff to sound like this anyway, then here you go. These demos began circulating as tapes in the back of magazines like Metal Maniacs. The early lines between thrash and death metal are just being drawn on "b.c.-a.d." The rasp to Browning's vocals is not too far removed from the hateful rasp some black metal singers take on.

"the Entity" shows the band's dynamic range even without the aid of keyboard. They slow build the songs into a crazed outburst of rabid blast beats, long before there was any hunger in Transylvania. The Slayer influence can be heard on "Unholy Fury". The kind of meth propelled drumming that earned the moniker speed metal, threatens to tear the ragged kit apart. The rough charm of this collection, might just put the taste in my mouth for "the Key", which is a perfectly fine option, as it is an album that deserves going back and re-experiencing. Since this is a compilation, I won't score it , but the Key is a ten.

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