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Nocturnus - The Science of Horror Award winner

Nocturnus
The Science of Horror
by Marcos “Big Daddy” Garcia at 15 March 2015, 9:22 PM

When did keyboards become a musical instrument used on Death Metal?

Well, that’s a difficult question to answer, because the sources are rare, and when we point it, some people arise, claiming (with or without sources) to be the father of this matter. But a witnessed fact, told by some old guys like Big Daddy here could be the key to solve some questions. And the first Death Metal band to use keyboards not only to create intros, but to be an important part of the entire musical approach, is North American band NOCTURNUS, from Florida. For those who don’t know their work, they are best known as one of Mike Browning’s (former drummer from INCUBUS, and drummer/vocalist from MORBID ANGEL, the same one who played/sang on “Abominations of Desolation”) works. The band released two precious jewels for the posterity, their first album, 1990 “The Key” and 1992 “Thresholds” (here, Mike only played drums) before Mike departed. And here now we have to review “The Science of Horror”, a compilation of NOCTURNUS’ older material.

First of all, here are their rare two Demo Tapes, 1987 “Nocturnus” and 1988 “The Science of Horror” (yes, the album’s name is from their second Demo). Obviously you all will be astonished of how such a good band existed back then, before Death Metal invasion on the beginning on the 90s, having MORBID ANGEL as its spearhead. You’ll feel a strong link between the band’s musical insights with some Thrash Metal musical elements under the Death Metal main style. But on “The Science of Horror” Demo marks the first appearance of keyboards on Death Metal, not as pompous orchestrations, but giving a touch of elegance, and sometimes, of purest horror. On “Nocturnus”, it’s the same, but without the keyboards. And hearing this compilation, you’ll understand where and when Progressive Death Metal appeared.

The sound quality is extremely harsh and dirty, but remember that the Demos were recorded back on the second half of the eighties. There is no place for complains here, unless you’ll have a time machine to send them a better sound equipment for recording sessions of the band.

Besides the order of the Demos is inverted in terms of chronology, we’ll speak about “Nocturnus” (the last four songs) first. Here, NOCTURNUS had in their lineup, Vincent Crowley (yes, the same one who will found ACHERON some years ago) and Gino Marino (former INCUBUS) on guitars, and Richard Bateman (former AGENT STEEL, and would join NASTY SAVAGE in the future) on bass guitar. Besides the keyboards are absent, you can feel the same energy that you can hear on their future albums, especially on tracks “Nocturnus” and “The Entity”. On “The Science of Horror”, the band is the very same that recorded “The Key”, and the four tracks are the embryonic forms of the ones you’ll find on the album, four classics I might say.

It’s a very rare item, and to extreme Metal fans, it’s a masterpiece.

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Before Christ/After Death
2. Standing in Blood
3. Neolithic
4. Undead Journey
5. Nocturnus
6. B.C. - A.D.
7. The Entity
8. Unholy Fury
Lineup:
Mike Browning - Vocals, Drums
Mike Davis - Guitars
Sean McNenney - Guitars
Vincent Crowley - Guitars
Gino Marino - Guitars
Richard Bateman - Bass
Jeff Estes - Bass
Louis Panzer - Keyboards
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
     


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