Review Summary: How to properly make modern technical death metal
Having existed since 1997, South Carolina's Lecherous Nocturne have always been a band that I've considered incredibly underrated and overlooked in the grand scheme of death metal. With two full length records and an EP to their name already, and having toured with such bands as Cannibal Corpse, Rotting Christ, Immolation, and Deicide, they have certainly made a name for themselves, although I'd prefer for that name to be mentioned a lot more in the general extreme metal discourse. Now five years and multiple lineup changes since their last album later, including the addition of former Nile bassist Chris Lollis on vocals and powerhouse drummer Alex Lancia on said instrument, Behold Almighty Doctrine
shows that the band has grown and refined their style into a veritable attack on the senses through its utterly pummeling nature and refusal to let the listener up for air for more than a few seconds at any given time.
Having already made my thoughts on modern death metal quite known in my last couple reviews (I'm still getting poorly spelled emails from angry Rings of Saturn fans), I feel I should mention what makes Lecherous Nocturne so much better from most of the rest of the modern scene. Lecherous Nocturne, while a completely chaotic, ridiculous array of blast beats and tremolo picking, is still rooted deep enough in traditional death metal so as to be appealing to the ear. It's very obvious the band idolizes the old school death metal crowd of the early 90s, specifically Morbid Angel, and they have taken their influences and, rather than try to outright emulate them as many other bands do, put their own spin on it so as to create their own memorable, identifiable sound. Songs like "Those Having Been Hidden Away" and "Judgments And Curses" play like if you took the most chaotic elements of Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal, mixed them in a blender, set the blender on fire, and threw it off a cliff. Every song features a bevvy of odd time signature changes as well, which is sure to please the progressive metal fans that enjoy that kind of thing. There's also an undercurrent of black metal running through much of the record, mostly in the almost exclusively tremolo picking nature of the guitars, although some tracks ("Ouroboros Chains" immediately comes to mind) include sections that sound right at home on a Dark Funeral or Marduk record. The songs do run together a bit on the first couple listens, but repeated spins will remedy that issue quickly. The classical piano interlude "Prelude #2" I don't think was entirely necessary, but at least it's a neat little bit of piano wizardry that actually reminds me of the title track from Fleshgod Apocalypse's Agony
a little bit. The overbearing and chaotic nature of the record is definitely not for everyone though, as it is very easy for one to feel completely overwhelmed by everything that is going on in the music, even with the album's incredibly short 27 minute run time. The excellent production makes it an easier sit than most though, sounding as if it was a lost record from 1993 that was only just rediscovered in the present day. Everything sounds incredibly organic, the drums in particular being one of the best drum sounds I've heard on an extreme metal record in a very long time, the sound overall isn't plagued by overcompression, and the guitars are perfectly audible alongside the drums and vocals. The bass is a little quiet for my tastes, but it peeks its head through enough times to keep me from feeling robbed of a great performance.
When it comes to the individual performances, all five band members do an absolutely spectacular job. Guitarists Kreishloff and Ethan Lane stand at the forefront with their incredible accuracy and timing, never missing a note once throughout the entire album. Bassist James O'Neal, despite following the guitars almost the entire record, plays with the same accuracy and energy as Kreish and Lane do, even throwing his own little frills in there when the music allows it. Chris Lollis, better known as the former bassist for fellow Greenville residents Nile, employs a vocal style similar to David Vincent or Chuck Schuldiner, staying at a more mid-range pitch throughout the album, only going into a full on growl or a high scream on occasion. He's very easy to understand as well, with each word coming from his mouth being perfectly discernible to the ear. The real star of Behold Almighty Doctrine
however is drummer Alex Lancia. This man is an absolute beast on his instrument, never letting up on the blast beats and double bass that have made death metal drumming popular. Where Lancia differs from many other drummers of this style however is that, despite the crazy music he is playing to, he never overplays or tries to hog the spotlight from the other members; he just naturally is the element of the music you're most drawn to. He is a blasting machine, with most of the record being variations and different takes on this most aggressive of beats. He could probably play double bass for a full 24 hours if you sat him in a room and told him to, as whenever he's not blasting, his feet are smashing away on the bass drums as if there were no tomorrow. All in all it's a series of five amazing performances rolled into one cohesive unit, and when combined with great songwriting leads to a damn good death metal record.
Behold Almighty Doctrine
shows that Lecherous Nocturne have evolved and built on their past efforts, accentuating the positives while eliminating many of the negatives, to create a fine album that I will definitely be spinning many more times in the future. Although I can definitely see how some people would be very much turned off by music like this (I know I am with a lot of death metal in this style), Lecherous Nocturne still have one foot firmly planted in extreme metal's past so as to remain palatable and listenable to someone with my tastes. Great songwriting, a very digestible length, and an excellent production style, coupled with the simply spectacular playing of the five members, means that Behold Almighty Doctrine
is one death metal album that you simply cannot do without, and a testament to how to properly do modern technical death metal.