Nocturnus AD - Paradox
Profound Lore Records
Death Metal
9 songs (52:11)
Release year: 2019
Profound Lore Records
Reviewed by Goat

After many years of internal warfare caused by Mike Browning being fired by the rest of the band, Nocturnus (the rival band rechristened with an 'AD' in the metallic fashion) has finally released new material, its first since being formed in 1999. And although no longer the original, 1987 Nocturnus line-up (newer members including ex-Incantation guitarist Belial Koblak and original Obituary bassist Daniel Tucker) it's spiritually very much a successor to the 1990 classic The Key, even down to the cover art. Musically, as before, this is a throwback to the early days of Morbid Angel-esque death metal when it had more in common with thrash metal than anything, with the addition of sci-fi synths giving the band their own style. Paradox is about as flamboyant and wild as death metal can get even before you start to focus on the lyrics, a death metal mirror image of King Diamond in some ways. Browning's vocals are clearer than most growls (and his past performances) spitting out lyrics with something approaching glee, and the synth/guitar interplay is both technical and melodic, The Bandar Sign almost old-school power metal-sounding at points.

Part of this album's (and indeed, The Key's) charm is that it's the musical equivalent of a 70s Sci-Fi horror, from the tinny-sounding synths to the very organic and retro-feeling production thanks to Jarrett Pritchard. The story follows on more or less directly from the protagonist's time travelling assassination mission from The Key being successful, with Satan ascending to godhood in album opener Seizing the Throne, and it's easy to enjoy such a loving tribute to himself as Mike Browning has created here. The only issue is, well, that Paradox is an inferior album to The Key, as good as it can be thanks mainly to the guitarists; the lush Middle-Eastern flavoured leads on Apotheosis, for example, are delightful, and Paleolithic's proggy interplay is the album at its best. Other highlights are the galloping The Antechamber, with a chorus approaching the quality of the classics, and The Return of the Lost Key which has a symphonic backing downright Dimmu Borgir-esque. Elsewhere, however, songs can tend to feel a little too samey in style as they barrel along at similar tempos with little of the sheer infectiousness of classics like Lake of Fire or BC/AD, and at its lowest point Aeon of the Ancient Ones can feel downright repetitive thanks to those backing keyboard lines. The band change it up in time to save themselves and there's no doubting that if you are a fan of The Key you'll find much to appreciate here, a love letter nearly thirty years in the making. But it's interesting that comparing the two finds the older album feeling more sophisticated and complex, and now that The Key finally has a successor if not surpasser it will be interesting to see which new worlds Browning takes his project to next.

Killing Songs :
The Bandar Sign, Paleolithic, Apotheosis
Goat quoted 75 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:32 am
View and Post comments