Nocturnal Fear - Metal of Honor
Moribund Cult
10 songs (53'43")
Release year: 2009
Moribund Cult
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

Living only about an hour south of Detroit, MI we have a few family lore stories about that sorry excuse of a city. Long time ago, when my wife was doing some graduate work, she asked me to drive her to Wayne State University campus. To go in a bathroom at the chemistry department there, you need to bring along a key. The place just can’t be left open, since druggies from the street are frequent visitors. When we were leaving, it was late at night, about 11 pm, and we had to walk a long way to the parking lot. Police helicopter swirled overhead, smoke escaped from the middle of the road manhole. A nearby grocery store was surrounded by police cars with their sirens on. The whole place looked apocalyptic, as in some Escape from New York movie. My wife shivered when I told her this place, the intersection of Cass and Warren, is called “murder corner”. The same Warren Avenue had a huge stinky dumpster in a middle of it. Behind this aroma filled box some smart city planner designed a wall mural which said “Say nice things about Detroit”. (Yet with all of its shortcomings I sympathize with Detroit, a hardworking town eking a living during current tough times, and don’t mind going there for an athletic event, to catch a show at Harpo's or I-Rock, or on business, when duty calls).

Enough reminiscing. If it is true that violent environment breads violent music Detroit natives Nocturnal Fear are a product of their environment. Metal of Honor is a soundtrack to war, with bloodshot eyed soldiers of fortune rushing into it on berserk-like high from the opening samples of Cast from Heaven. The band plays crazy, intense, hook-laden thrash in the style of the German Big Three (Kreator, Destruction and Sodom) and brings pro-American unapologetic attitude into it.

Nimble and catchy, Metal of Honor seems to sometimes careen out of control with breakneck speed, only to make some knee-breaking stops (Russian Roulette). No one can accuse guitarist Rev. Christ Slavehunter Ph.D of slacking off here. Melodic, without being Swedish at it (Nuclear Deathstrike), his fingers never stop climbing the guitar neck, creating riffs from which neck pain is guaranteed. I wonder what his Ph.D is in. Maybe it is in string molestation, as leads like the one in Soul Destroyer are anything but simple.

At the same time, Nocturnal Fear has enough sensibility in them to slow down for a steadily unfolding instrumental Reign of Terror … or at least it starts this way with a monster segue being The Enigma of Steel. The latter, with its opening sideways harmonies, proceeds from a foot tapping catchiness to a self-accelerating catalytic runaway reaction. If that song does not excite you, it is obvious you are metal neutral.

Everything on Metal of Honor is dedicated to invoke the impression of you being right in the middle of hostilities. Aggressor’s quick blasts appearing rarely and only serving as warm-ups (Death Before Dishonor), the drums on Metal of Honor are dry machinegun strikes, rather than artificial overdriven booms. Doomy G. Blackthrash raspy vocals are constant, like a bullet ribbon feeding the non-stop overheated firearm. Some sounds resemble tolling bells or bomb blasts going off in the distance (The Victor and the Vanquished). For Nocturnal Fear the war never stops.

Metal of Honor is how thrash gods meant it to be done. Truth be told, thrash is not even my favorite style, but even I can’t resist something so headbangingly done.

Killing Songs :
Nuclear Deathstrike, The Enigma of Steel, Russian Roulette
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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