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Nocturnal Graves - Satan's Cross (Reissue) Award winner

Nocturnal Graves
Satan's Cross (Reissue)
by Lauren Fonto at 04 February 2018, 12:14 PM

Aussie death metal merchants NOCTURNAL GRAVES have re-released their 2007 debut, “Satan’s Cross”. Paolo Girardi (INQUISITION, MANILLA ROAD) has created his own version of the original cover art, and the result is stunning. I felt that the re-released music really does justice to the musical and songwriting abilities of the band – things were not too clean, not too murky, but well-balanced.

It was hard to pick favourites from this album. “Aggressive Exterminator” sets the scene with a creepy organ intro. The death metal elements arrive slowly, like some creeping thing. The toms have a nice amount of resonance to them. Things are then whipped into a frenzy with a fast tempo, aided by the staccato vocals courtesy of Nuclear Exterminator. The guitars have a muscular tone to them, and the drums sound fresh. “Skullthrone” was one of the early highlights for me. The riffs are explosive, and the bass drums boom without overpowering everything else. The guitar solo was exciting to hear.

The tolling bell and fearful screams set a tone of horror on “Nocturnal Maniac”. Powerful blast beats and a staccato vocal delivery build the tension.  The main riff was an earworm of note. “When the Demons Feast” has a feeling of chaos, with a wavering solo and screaming rhythm riffs. The bass drum beats give the impression of a cavernous pit of hell. The chorus is addictive, and the soaring solo conjured up images of demons flying through the night.

From a historical perspective, it’s interesting to hear the demos, and to compare them to the contemporary versions of the songs. I felt that the drumming was very muddy. Perhaps I’m a heretic for saying this, but I prefer the contemporary versions of the “Satan’s Cross” tracks. “Satan’s Cross” is an excellent death metal offering, with a take on Satan, demons, etc. that doesn’t seem cliché. These guys aren’t straining to be “more brutal than thou”; they do their thing with confidence, and for me it showed in the music.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Aggressive Exterminator
2. Rotten Cremation
3. Skullthrone
4. Whore of Sodom
5. Nocturnal Maniac
6. When the Demons Feast
7. The Pestilence Crucified
8. Satan's Cross
9. Nocturnal Maniac (demo)
10. Whore of Sodom (demo)
11. Skullthrone (demo)
12. Rotten Cremation (demo)
13. When the Demons Feast (demo)
Nuclear Exterminator – Drums, Guitars, Vocals
Regan Destruktor – Bass 
Record Label: Season of Mist


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