Nocturnus AD
Paradox


4.0
excellent

Review

by Sean H. CONTRIBUTOR (115 Reviews)
May 25th, 2019 | 52 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: AT THE GATE I AM!

On the 1990 classic, The Key, Mike Browning and company created a record that was quite different from any other death metal that year. This full-length was technical, bizarre, and centered around an over-the-top science fiction story about Satan’s rise to power, time-travel, and the killing of Christ before he could grow up into the savior of mankind. The record was and still is incredibly influential to many tech death artists and science fiction nerds alike. This cheesy, yet bold marriage of religion-based shock-horror and futuristic world building is something that would seem gimmicky at first - at least until you listen to it.

The follow-up, almost 30 years after the original, might seem like a novelty at first as well. It’s a comeback band made up by experienced Floridian death-heads, sure, but usually these return records are excuses to go on tour or misguided attempts at rekindling magic. Also against Paradox’s odds is the fact that it’s a sequel record in the first place and, as many already know, the sequel record is usually a bloated, sloppy version of the original.

But, after the less than stellar material released by Nocturnus when Browning was kicked from the frontman/lead-songwriter/drummer role to just the drummer, and eventually kicked out of the band as a whole, I had to remain hopeful for this one. After effectively being ***ed over by his bandmates in both Morbid Angel and Nocturnus, this is where Browning can prove his worth as a band leader and make the true successor that Thresholds[ impeded upon. In addition, the tasty world-blending between evil, satanic death metal and futuristic technical aspects is something I needed more of and, to be blunt, Paradox delivers on all fronts.

The story this time is as follows - Satan’s rule is in full swing and, after the events of The Key, one Doctor Magus is left crippled and bound to an robotic exo-suit. Magus then gets wrapped up in strange going-ons that involve Lovecraftian horrors, ancient aliens, sinister cults, and his own eventual “deification.” Even without reading all the lyrics to find out what exactly is happening from song to song, the heavy atmosphere contained in each and every song tells a story of harrowing fear, conspiracies as old as time, and a climatic ascension. There’s a power in the lead and backing guitars - they represent the gravity of the situations, there’s a murkiness in the bass tone that looms over like how the satanic and ancient beasts prowl the streets. The synths, arguably the most prominent part of the world-building in Nocturnus and Nocturnus AD, spiral and swell as the record goes on, becoming more and more intense as the record inches closer to its climax.

Paradox is ultimately a very powerful follow-up to The Key, changing the sound in subtle ways, but still maintaining the heart of the original work. It stands alone in both it’s storyline and song structures. There’s many a-headbang worthy riff here - look to “Paleolithic” and “The Antechamber” for some pit-fueling guitars - and some stellar performances. Browning is obviously still one with his percussion kit, which more than makes up for the way his vocals have aged. Daniel Tucker, of early Obituary fame, provides a great atmospheric backing for the shredding done by Belial Koblak of Lethal Prayer and Demian Heftel (who performed a stint in Brutality), as well as many other bands, as well as the all important keys played by newcomer Josh Holdren.

It brings me great joy to be able to recommend Paradox as a worthy successor and a kick-ass tech-death record. Its heavy atmospheres, pummeling riffs, compelling track progressions and fun storyline make for a very enjoyable record. It’s undeniably cheesy, even more so than The Key, but that’s definitely the appeal of Nocturnus and it’s AD counterpart. Science fiction meets the occult in a way that’s hard to take seriously, but played with the conviction of the most serious of concept albums.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
May 24th 2019


2750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thanks to granitenotebook

stream: https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/paradox

Digging: Fetid - Steeping Corporeal Mess

Space Jester
May 24th 2019


6582 Comments


Nice dude, good read for a rad album. One little correction right here though.

this is where Browning can prove his worth as a band leader and make the true successor that Thresholds impeded upon.


This line seems to imply that Thresholds is not rad as fuck so you might wanna edit that part so people know it’s good

Darius the Great
May 24th 2019


20617 Comments


shut up space nerdster

what is threshold actually sucks and he's expressing his opinion of so

Space Jester
May 24th 2019


6582 Comments


Impossible

bloc
May 24th 2019


55964 Comments


Excited to hear this

Digging: Paris - Sleeping with the Enemy

naughtcturnal
May 25th 2019


975 Comments


Fuck yess ordered this the exact minute I received the e-mail announcing it was out at around midnight last night. Haven't fully listened to it yet but can't wait to sit down and do just that. Gr8 review m8

Digging: GARDSGHASTR - Slit Throat Requiem

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2019


9615 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dis sweet : )

Digging: Gnaw Their Tongues - An Eternity Of Suffering, An Eternity Of Pain

ChaoticVortex
May 25th 2019


795 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

So glad to hear the whole album kicks ass. Can't wait to listen to it.

Faenrir
May 25th 2019


756 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is better than Thresholds. Not quite at the level of the key but close. It might grow on me, though.

Great album overall, i'm glad Mike Browning finally got back where he was. After Death was cool but sadly a bit inconsistent (at least, album-wise).



Nice review

TheNotrap
May 25th 2019


11153 Comments


Album took me back to 89, as expected

Digging: Panzerfaust - The Suns of Perdition - Chapter I: War, Horrid War

necropig
May 25th 2019


5458 Comments


Sick art, have to listen

Digging: Kommodus - An Imperial Sun Rises

osteporosis
May 25th 2019


514 Comments


i just love precession of the equinoxes. That song slays so hard.

CaptainDooRight
May 25th 2019


4091 Comments


cover makes me wanna play a video game

Digging: Karmic Juggernaut - The Dreams That Stuff Are Made Of

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2019


10593 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"This line seems to imply that Thresholds is not rad as fuck so you might wanna edit that part so people know it’s good"



is Thresholds not considered trve Nocturnus now? It's pretty much same quality as The Key, it's just the third album that sucks

Maco097
May 25th 2019


3055 Comments


Thresholds is second tier The Key, even Mike will agree with that.

Source
May 25th 2019


11756 Comments


Mike is wrong

DePlazz
May 25th 2019


1465 Comments


Bookmarked

Hawks
May 25th 2019


71857 Comments


Gotta hear this.

Digging: State Faults - Clairvoyant

Bloon
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2019


2750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

thresholds is decent, major step down tho

light 3 imo

Hawks
May 25th 2019


71857 Comments


Thresholds is a solid 4 for me. Def not as good as The Key though.



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