Review Summary: About as awesome as the cover art. No lies.
“Alright you motherf*ckers, this one is metal to the bone!
Straight to the point, Nocturnal Breed’s “Fields of Rot” is one hell of a jaw-busting album. Released just at the right time when modern thrash needed a fresh sound, “Fields of Rot” truly brings thrash back to its new wave of British heavy metal and punk roots. Emerging from Norway, Nocturnal Breed has been getting praise lately for their “blackened thrash” approach, which really is just a strong nod towards old Sodom and Kreator. But “Fields of Rot” is just so much more than your normal thrash affair, and plays second to none to any of the newly formed retro-thrash bands.
Thrash is the name of the game here, and Nocturnal Breed does more than just excel at it. Ben Hellion and A.E. Rattlehead team up to deliver hard-hitting thrash riffs dipped in punk and throw in N.W.O.B.H.M. melodies and leads to seal the package. When “Wicked, Vicious, and Violent” comes roaring on, it’s not hard to hear the two straining their fingers as they rip away at their fret boards, only to be matched by Destroyer’s dog-like snarl, which is where their black metal influences pop in. The title track, “Code of Conduct”, “Too Damned to Conquer”, and the chugger “The Dead” follow the book on how to write thrash, with locked palm mute riffs and blazing solos, while variation shows it face with the twisted “Manskinner” and the tension builder “In Sickness and Hell”, which has Destroyer promptly telling the audience that they have “a dawn appointment with the gallows”.
As an album, “Fields of Rot” produces simply because of one thing that thrash has lacked in almost every case: variety. Hellion and Rattlehead constantly churn out riff after riff, each one sounding different than the last. “Iron Bitch”, besides having a ridiculously awesome name, is a straight Motorhead throwback. It’s got such an 80’s grit-rock vibe to it from the heavily sleazy riffs, and Destroyer puts out his best vocal performance, sounding like he’s just downed two packs of smokes and a bottle of whiskey as he tells the tale of a complete bitch of a woman. “Invasion of the Body Thrashers” takes a bit of a light-hearted approach, even breaking for a second with an almost Western lead part. Makes sense that a part like that would appear, really, if you were to see one of their band pictures which depicts the boys in front of a car with a longhorn skull on the bumper.
“When you f*cked with us, an army was born!
In the sense of actual talent, it should be noted that Destroyer is one of the best vocalists that modern metal has to offer. Seriously, he is insane. He changes his range constantly, and you never know what technique he is going to use next. He could be doing death grunts one moment, and then suddenly switch to a speed-talk, high-pitched shrieks, or sound like Lemmy from Motorhead. Mix that in with his unusual lyrics (“Callous and heartless, inflictress of pain, as in the heart of every devil there’s vain!
” – “Scything Harrow”), and you’ve got a winner. All the while doing the vocals, he’s also providing the bass parts, which do add an good “punch” to the tone, as well as branching off at points such as on “The Dead”.
Nocturnal Breed’s “Fields of Rot” deserves the attention of metal followers across the globe. It’s fast, relentless, and catchy as hell. Tracks like “Wicked, Vicious, and Violent” and “Too Damned to Conquer” will please any thrash junkies’ craving, while “Invasion of the Body Thrashers” and “Iron Bitch” have the potential to reach out and grab hold of those not accustom to thrash. As far as modern thrash goes, Nocturnal Breed produces, simply put, one of the best albums available. Put it in your stereo and blast those speakers, you won’t regret it.
Wicked, Vicious, and Violent
Too Damned to Conquer
Invasion of the Body Thrashers