I never understood why bands select dodgy covers for albums which don’t reflect the music contained. Well known examples of this are Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranioid’ and Anthrax’s ‘Fistful of Metal’, which the bands admit themselves are ropey at best. The cover of the The Noctambulant’s ‘Hellrazor’ EP’, whilst well drawn in places, is an another example of a poorly selected cover. This is primarily down to the faces of two of the three wolves on the cover (I’ll leave you to decide the two) which leave you in stitches. I’m sure this was not the planned or desired effect and leaves the EP open to some unfortunate ridicule. This didn’t bode well for the ride that I was about to undertake.
However, surprisingly and more importantly, the music on this short 5 track EP is both challenging and rewarding. The opening intro builds nicely and this unleashes the aggressive title track which delivers a fantastic melody of guitars and growling vocals. ‘Blackened Swords of Satan’ is no slouch either, having a wonderful intensity and I think it’s the stand out track on this dark journey.
Similar to its two predecessors, ‘GHBM’ has oppressive racing guitars and intimidating vocals that never drop off from that runaway train. The pits at The Noctambulant must be an furious experience, let me tell you. ‘Troll Crusher’ is just as intense as the other songs and I almost feel the need to open up my own virtual pit as I take in the feral guitars, rasping vocals and charging drums. For a 3 piece outfit, the Florida based ‘The Noctambulant’ certainly don’t pull any punches and their blackened sound has an undercurrent of a sinister and foreboding threat. Lovely!
And then it’s all over far too soon. I wanted more but there was none to be had. What the reason for releasing this very short EP is I’m not entirely sure, but it definitely feels like an opportunity missed. A full length album of this ferocity and forcefulness could have been a thing of great beauty, even ignoring the dodgy wolves. The Noctambulant means ‘night walker’ and can’t help feel there is a chance to create a figure of similar style to Eddie or Vic Rattlehead to provide a iconic mascot which fans love and associate the band with. Anyway, with the promise that these songs provide, I await with baited breath for the Noctambulant’s next (and hopefully longer) offering.