Monday, April 14, 2014

Nocturnal Breed: Napalm Nights (2014)

The Smell of Napalm at Night

As the immortal line goes, “I love the smell of napalm at night.” Well, not exactly, but close enough.

It’s not like I’ve suddenly started wearing bullet belts and ignoring anything with “ambient” or “avant garde” in the description. But lately I’ve developed a new appreciation for the most unpretentious kinds of metal. Maybe I’m not flying the flag 100% of the time, but I’m definitely listening to the anthem. Norway’s Nocturnal Breed fit right into my renewed love of down-to-blackened-earth metal.

They’ve been around since the mid-90’s, but Napalm Nights is my first exposure to their blackened thrash attack. Throughout the record, they make some obvious nods to Motörhead (“Speedkrieg”) and Darkthrone (“The Bitch of Buchenwald”). They can play slow and dark (“Cursed Beyond Recognition”), go to all-out thrash (“Thrashiac”), or apply corpsepaint to their riffs (“Krigshisser”). The vocalist doesn’t just growl, but sometimes sounds like Lemmy, or sometimes shrieks some badass heavy metal shrieks (“The Devil Swept the Ruins”).

Nocturnal Breed check all the right boxes. They have the enthusiasm of 20-somethings. They even write memorable riffs, choruses, and a decent solo or two. The pacing: Not bad either. Unfortunately, with a stretched-to-12-minute title track and a handful of other filler tunes, their balls are empty and itchy about halfway through the hour. They have to, I don’t know, drink some juice before getting fully hard again.*

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

*I didn’t want to use the “running out of steam” cliché. So you get a sex metaphor.

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