While their early signees were almost exclusively of a demented Black Metal disposition the folks over at Moribund Records have signed a shitload of Black/Death Metal bands over the last few years or so – GODLESS RISING, DRAWN AND QUARTERED etc – with NOCTURNAL FEAR being the latest addition to this unholy bunch. Honestly, the ‘Black/Death’ moniker didn’t invoke that much anticipation in me but after having read that Necromodeus (formerly of SUMMON) has joined the fold I was close to frothing at the mouth with excitement. SUMMON’s “Fallen” disc from a few years back is still one of the greatest amalgamations of all out Thrash and Black Metal evilness ever released by a group of mortals, so with his involvement in this band you can basically say that I’ll like this album by default.
One thing that I noticed whilst listening to “Code Of Violence” is that the sound is much closer to old school Thrash mixed with some dark Death Metal than your average “Blackened Death Metal” act, which is fine by me since I’ve been overdosing on Black Metal recently. Their crunchy Death Metal and fleet-footed Thrash riff storms hit just the right spot with me, much like DESASTER did with “Angelwhore”, and the occasional infusion of Black Metal-isms are deftly handled, bringing to mind cult bands like AURA NOIR and THY INFERNAL. Tracks like “Rising Hatred”, “Line Of Fire”, and “Flamethrower Holocaust” are excellent pieces of riff-centered Black/Death madness that also sees Mr. Necromodeus in top form behind the mic, his acidic screams and growls adding just the right amount of evil to the mix. Even though the album is technically very tight the speeds at which they play (together with the guitar tone) gives the album a loose and dirty vibe, not unlike 80s German Thrash Metal (mostly SODOM). For a tongue-in-cheek example of this check out the fun romp of “Denim Demons”.
Even though “Code Of Violence” is far from a masterpiece is nevertheless a fun slab of old school Thrash and atmospheric Death Metal that should appeal to fans of bands as diverse as SEPTIC FLESH, VITAL REMAINS and the aforementioned SODOM, AURA NOIR and SUMMON. If no-nonsense brutality and riff overkill is your chosen poison then “Code Of Violence” will floor you in devastating fashion. Good stuff!
(Online August 6, 2008)