Review Summary: Hear the call of the thrashiac!Napalm Nights
had quite the benchmark to live up to: Fields of Rot
, its predecessor, is one of the finest examples of modern thrash metal done right, with its ferocious punky attitude and riffs galore. Just one listen of "Wicked, Vicious & Violent" or "Iron Bitch" will most certainly solidify that point. Seven years in the making, Nocturnal Breed’s latest album isn’t as immediate, fast, or menacing, but it does have one very important thing in common with the band’s 2007 outing: both records are quality to the bone. There’s no magic, no hidden tricks responsible for Napalm Nights
's greatness – the group behind it simply knows how to write effective thrash metal. Whether they’re going two hundred miles per hour or are cruising around in their deathmobile, you can expect quality madness to ensue either way.
Compared to Fields of Rot
, Napalm Nights
is a different animal. While the former had a visible punk aesthetic mixed in, Nocturnal Breed’s latest offering is a much more rock ’n’ roll drenched record. Lightning quick riffing and the in your face bite which governed before have largely been abandoned in favor of longer, mid-tempo songs that take their time to build up. The best example of this is the behemoth-sized title track, which at one point doesn’t seem to be hurrying anywhere with its plodding main riff, but then out of nowhere a sweet solo erupts (on multiple occasions) and the whole face of the track changes. Make no mistake, just because Nocturnal Breed have slowed down doesn’t mean the material on Napalm Nights
isn’t as quality as that found on Fields of Rot
. The new album shows a different side of the band, one that glorifies devilish rock 'n' roll, but at their core Nocturnal Breed are the same thrashheads intent on wreaking havoc. The weapons in their arsenal have changed, but the mentality of the soldiers is the same.
Commendably, in their transformation, Nocturnal Breed haven’t forgotten about those who appreciated their previous, more stinging style of play. Tracks such as "Speedkrieg" or the aptly titled "Thrashiac" still thrash with the best of them, and most songs have sections where the band suddenly accelerates. The guitar sound is less metallic and punk as the rock 'n' roll influences shine through, but the required attitude is still there. Frontman S. A. Destroyer howls and shreaks as powerfully as he did seven years ago, and from the cover art to the lyrics, the themes haven’t changed for Nocturnal Breed – only the times. The main agenda of the band has clearly stayed the same: rock hard or don’t rock at all.
is a great effort from these Norwegian thrashers. They have changed up their style in the seven years that separate their two latest records, and while this has resulted in a slower and less reckless approach to thrash, the songwriting chops and mean attitude of the band haven’t vanished anywhere. If Fields of Rot
was a full on assault on the listener, Napalm Nights
is a tactical, cleverly planned attack – both have their advantages in different situations. What the album lacks in speed, it makes up in compositions and savvy. There are enough intricacies on every track to keep both thrash lovers and casual listeners of heavy music appeased, and most importantly, longer songs equals more metal – something these guys know how to play. Like the presence of a seasoned veteran in crunch time, Nocturnal Breed’s presence in the current landscape of thrash metal is invaluable.