Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nocturnus: Thresholds (1992) Review

Nocturnus is a somewhat obscure but highly influential death metal band from the late 80's and early 90's (they also did a reunion album released in 2000). I picked up their 1992 release, Thresholds.

They are from the Tampa, Florida scene, and they sound a lot like fellow Floridians Death. To be more accurate, they sound like each other, though it seems Nocturnus hit on the progressive approach to the music a little earlier.

Nocturnus is set apart by the use of keyboards in a straight death metal band, a setup which is almost unheard of even today (you'll find it in some melodic death, though). The keyboards are mostly limited to creating atmosphere, so they don't overwhelm the metal. The music is good, and very progressive.

Lyrically and visually, they are about science fiction instead of the blood and gore usually favored by early death metal groups. And why not? There's a lot of overlap between fantasy and science fiction, and fantasy is everywhere in metal.

The Verdict: This album is a little-known gem. If you like early Cynic or mid- to late Death, or if you're a technical death metal freak (like me) who wants to know the genre's roots, you should check out Thresholds. Or, you could check out 1990's The Key (which is easier to find in a physical format). I give this album 4 out of 5 stars.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't heard this one, but I quite like The Key. I did a post about it earlier. Excellent, underrated band.