Code of Violence
I recently opined that death metal - in order to compete with the black metal that is increasingly stealing its thunder - needs to sound like an explosion of blood right out of the gate. Gratifyingly Detroit shock troops Nocturnal Fear have gotten it right. Nocturnal Fear realize that death metal, at its best and vilest, needs to sound completely fucking weird and spazzy and violently messy. So to fashion the off-kilter noise bursts that populate "Code of Violence" der Fear look to the likes of Morbid Angel's "Altars of Madness," along with Sodom and Destruction's early work, for the language they use. But it's not like all that naff retro-thrash, just by dint of the conviction and abandon with which they throw themselves into their material.
And this material is a dizzy, vertigo-laden brew of sloppy thrash with pristine chugging riffs, grindcore "fuck it" charges, early death metal's (think "Scream Bloody Gore") extremity and the crazed time changes that the likes of Morbid Angel used to employ. Not only that, but Nocturnal Fear turn their back on the occult with lyrics and themes that explore a far more horrifying day to day reality of war, murder, serial killers and man's everyday violence. Though it's more than a little tough to tell whether Nocturnal Fear are embedded reporters or if they've gone native a la Kurtz in "Apocalypse Now." Check out all of the hardware/ammo displayed proudly on the back cover. In the end, maybe the album does overstay its ideal running time a bit; it's an exhausting experience after track, say, six, but I love how it's just crazy, messed up, evil racket from 0:01.
- Matthew Moyer