Nocturnal Breed - Fields of Rot
Agonia Records
Blackened Thrash / Speed Metal
10 songs (32:30)
Release year: 2007
Agonia Records
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

I have to say, after listening to almost strictly power metal the past few days for my latest Avantasia review, it’s the best and oddest kind of relief to be listening to some breakneck, spine-tearing thrash metal again. And for a change, I’m not listening to an 80’s underground thrash album from Germany that should’ve gotten three times as much attention than it did; I’m listening to Fields of Rot, the fourth full-length of Oslo, Norway thrashers Nocturnal Breed. This album is essentially a summation of everything I want in a thrash metal record; Relentlessly fast pace, creative and slightly blackened riffs, and a good dosage of traditional NWOBHM / speed metal make Fields of Rot one helluva entertaining album that I simply can’t pull myself away from.

Nocturnal Breed has clearly always been influenced by black metal, but with Fields of Rot, they’ve decided decrease the breadth of their blackened sound to make way for more melodies and speed metal influence; a part of them is still clearly devoted to black metal, as you can determine from the shrieky vocals of Kenneth Svartalv and the raw intensity of some of the riffs, but it seems with Fields of Rot that Motorhead has become a primary influence in certain songs. The most obvious homage to Lemmy & Co. occurs in Iron Bitch (sound familiar?), which features an Overkill style of drumming and a blazing NWOBHM riff that, quite simply, renders it impossible for you to keep your head still while listening to it. Various other melodic riffs and Svartalv’s strained voice are clearly nods towards the days where the ‘Head reigned supreme, and this goes for the entire album, though other songs aren’t as obvious about it.

But of course, the framework for Fields of Rot is not speed metal, but rather intense thrash metal that’s simply exhilarating to say the least. With the rare exception of tracks like In Sickness or in Hell or The Dead, Nocturnal Breed blazes through this album’s 32 minute running time without hardly slowing down, and even when they do slow the pace a bit, the riffs are technical enough to keep you entertained; listen to The Dead for proof of this. But simply play Fields of Rot’s title track, Code of Conduct, or Scything Harrow and you’ll instantly have your thrash metal craving satisfied as you’re swept away in the sheer intensity of Nocturnal Breed’s mayhem. And with graphic lyrics dealing with war, torture, and disease (sometimes all three), you have detailed descriptions of the insanity you’re experiencing to match.

If there’s anything wrong with Fields of Rot, however, it’s the production; it's too polished for my tastes. While a clean production is maybe necessary here because of the complexity of the riffs, it simply lacks a dirty quality that, while not important on, say, an Overkill album, is required here, especially when it comes to blackened thrash. But, hell, other than that, I honestly can’t think of anything I would change about Nocturnal Breed’s sound with this album. It wont’ reinvent the wheel, but Fields of Rot’s sound is close to being the pinnacle of intense thrash metal in the 21st century, and any thrash metal fan would be wise to pick this up ASAP if they haven’t already done so. Ridiculously fast-paced thrash metal combined with top-notch songwriting? And this isn’t the 80’s?? It can be done, my friends. Nocturnal Breed proves it.

Killing Songs :
Kyle quoted 90 / 100
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