Released: 2002, Unholy Records
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
BULLETBELT THRASH AT NECKBREAKING SPEED!
At least, that’s what it says in the lyrics to the Nocturnal Fear track “Hellbangers,” and that assessment is not too far from the truth. Nocturnal Fear hail from Detroit, Michigan, playing a furious death-thrash with more than a respectful nod to their old school roots. Drawing from the sounds of old Kreator, Bathory, and Sodom, we get a sound that reminds me quite a bit of Sweden’s thrash masters, Defleshed.
Air raid sirens signal the threat to come as STERILIZE AND EXTERMINATE, the band’s debut full-length plows full-on into the opener “Holocaust the Heretic.” If you’re not hooked by the first 90 seconds of the album, then turn around as this one’s not for you. Aggressor lays down the battery with intensity from his throne, throwing in lotsa kicks and time changes to make things interesting, but it is Slavehunter weilding the six-string who is an army unto himself. Yeah, firing off riff after riff in rapid succession, then changing things up and firing off a classic thrash solo or two, this guy keeps the sound fresh and ever changing. Nocturnal Fear certainly pisses on such pseudo-death-thrash such as The ForsakenHauntedCrownForge187 from on high. The opening track is a good indicator of the other nine tracks on this 43-minute hellride. The only time Nocturnal Fear slows down is for the ominous keyboard intro to “Unholy Throne of Blasphemy,” which is one of my favourite tunes on the album. The main riff reminds me something of Overkill hyped-up on steroids and cocaine simultaneously. Here, we see that Terrorizer, the woman behind the low-end, is more than just a pretty face in the band; I really dig the style she uses, commanding a serious presence, but still maintaining somewhat of a loose sound. I’m always glad when the bass is brought to the front of the sound, especially in thrash. “Hellbangers” is the gratuitous thrash glorification, a total fucking bang-your-brains-out 3-minutes with a fist-banging catchy chorus to match. If you’re not in the pit for this one, then you are a poseur! “Pagan Rites” another cool tune with a chuggier riff than we’ve been hearing thus far.
Each of the songs on STERILIZE AND EXTERMINATE is a total thrash-fest, though towards the last quarter of the album, I find that the songs start to run together somewhat. This isn’t precisely a problem, because it’s still good headbanging thrash. We even get a kickass cover of Sodom’s “Outbreak of Evil.” Anybody that cover’s Sodom is okay in my book.
Nocturnal Fear’s debut is a must-have for afficionados for all things thrash. If STERILIZE AND EXTERMINATE is an indicator of what’s in store for their second album, then we’re gonna have another thrash monster loose.