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Nocturnal Fear – Excessive Cruelty

Nocturnal Fear
Excessive Cruelty
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 31 August 2011, 12:13 PM

This is not the first time I am saying this, but sometimes this shout out needs to be heard more than once – “This is total war!!”. The stimulating scenes of destruction and annihilation are once again being streamed through old school veins filled with corroded Thrash Metal. The ongoing Thrash militarized maniacs, NOCTURNAL FEAR, is out in the battlefield once again to crush, burn, kill, murder and execute. Violence is spreading and as the blood keeps flowing, there you have their new album, “Excessive Cruelty”.

Generally, “Excessive Cruelty” is the face of old school raw and extreme Thrash in the veins of the 80s with a trivial look into the eyes of modernity. I presume that fans of early KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, SODOM and even early SEPULTURA will appeal to this release. As a fan of those bands, I can say that I was appealed to this album as well. However, I can’t say that I was so amazed by NOCTURNAL FEAR’s evil take-over expedition. I knew that I would be stumbling upon something harsh, evil, raw and probably simple to comprehend, and in various ways it made me bang my head, yet there were shortcomings that I just couldn’t bear with ease.

I can’t cut to the chase that fast if I won’t tell you what I liked about this album. First of all there were the riffages. Along with the old school production that implemented the same energies of the past like on the old classic of “Pleasure To Kill”, NOCTURNAL FEAR wrote some great old school riffs. Even though none of those riffs were that original as a number of those were used by KREATOR or SODOM themselves and others bands afterwards, I admit that I liked the way those sounded and the feelings they channelled in the new decade of 00’s. “Rolling Thunder”is by far the band’s greatest effort on this release and my most likable was a straight up shooter with a great selection of those enchanting simple riffages that true old school Thrash would never lose.

Second on my list, and that was a big surprise for me, were the keyboards. The last two tracks of “Excessive Cruelty”, “Frozen in Stone”and “Human Shield”, featured that nice atmospheric while a long lead section was played as it went. I have to acknowledge that I solemnly heard an old school Thrash band use keyboards, lest an aggressive European influenced kind of band. For that I have to credit NOCTURNAL FEAR’s drummer, Witchhammer, for this nice gesture.

With my compliments, I can’t disregard that fact that this album could have been something way better that it turned out to be, especially from a band that has been running for eleven years bearing five albums in the name of Metal. Thrash Metal’s wild energies coexisted well with these guys for sure, but still some things were missing. Well, I can’t say originality because I couldn’t know if that was the initial intent, but I can say this, NOCTURNAL FEAR’s material partly sounded as if it was forcefully stretched to fill in time space.

The best example is the lead section. Leaving the vocals behind, which also weren’t that dominant, the lead section could have been better off. Why you ask? Maybe because the inserted solos were played as if a child or a beginner were playing. Thrash Metal has too many examples of wild solos over the years, especially in the 80s. As for the keyboards that seemed as a renewal in old school Thrash, I believe that it still was a bit amateurish. Moreover that the lead section along with keyboards on “Frozen in Stone”was pretty much dreary.

“Excessive Cruelty”with all my admiration for great Thrash riffs forged in the 80s, is certainly not “Obsessed by Cruelty” or “Pleasure To Kill” or even “Endless Pain”. NOCTURNAL FEAR, along with their decade of experience of Thrashing in the past, has a few things to find out if they want to create a master killing album. Even though I thought that they didn’t reach a high level of creation, I believe in those guys because they have what it takes to ram their way to victory. 

3 Star Rating

1. Murder for Hire
2. Excessive Cruelty
3. I am War
4. Absolute Annihilation
5. Rolling Thunder
6. World War 3
7. Frozen in Stone
8. Human Shield
Devastator– Vocals
Rev. Slavehunter, Ph.D. – Guitars
Warmonger– Bass
Witchhammer– Drums, Keyboards
Record Label: Moribund Cult Records


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