It’s been an arduous seven years since Nocturnal Breed has graced us the neck breaking sounds of classic thrash we’ve grown to love them for. “Fields of Rot” had fans everywhere banging their heads and raising their middle fingers to the establishment, with its lightning fast, Destruction-like riffs and angry fervor. The 2007 release was classic “Nocturnal Breed”. It seems, however, that the seven year hiatus gave way to growth and experimentation for the band. Don’t get me wrong, ‘Napalm Nights’ still delivers the “thrash injected” goods with no apologies, but the LP takes on an American feel, which is a strong deviation from the classically European sounds of prior releases.
The album begins almost predictably, with the “The Devil Swept the Ruins”, a very “thrash-y” and traditional sounding Nocturnal Breed track. Nocturno Culto’s legendary vocals only enhance the quality of the track because they meld so nicely with Nocturnal Breed’s classic style. The atmosphere soon changes, however. Tracks like “Napalm Nights” (the title track) and “Curse Beyond Recognition” serve up anthem-ic breaks and fervent solos, that coalesce nicely with a surprisingly epic feel. Track four, “The Bitch of Buchenwald” is oddly reminiscent of “Ace of Spades” era Motorhead, leaving listeners to head-bang confusedly midway through the album. By this point, I was more than ready for the speed infused, European sounds of classic Nocturnal Breed. Fans of “No Retreat….No Surrender”, not to worry, “Thrashiac” barrels in like a thirty ton war machine and brutally rips into your jugular with lightening fast riffs and vocals uglier than ever. Even this track gave way to epic fills and pronounced, melodic soloing. “Krigshisser (DNK)” is the only song on the album that celebrates Nocturnal Breed’s traditional candor, in a gruesomely, blackened and noisy kind of way.
There is a definitive, traditional heavy metal feel running through the veins of this release, especially on the track entitled “Under the Whip”. It almost seems that during their hiatus, Nocturnal Breed has become disillusioned with the avenue extreme metal has taken , and is yearning for a simpler time. This sentiment shouldn’t be perceived negatively, however, because they pull it off extremely well. Each track is long, yet not winded, with thoughtful breaks throughout, keeping the listener entertained. This album may not be as ugly as prior releases, but it is certainly well executed. Passionate solos, visceral vocals, and markedly audible and skillful drumming are hallmarks of “Napalm Nights”. Most of all, Napalm Nights exudes memorability because of its “catchiness”. These are songs that would translate nicely to the stage.
So, although Napalm Nights cannot be described as one of Nocturnal Breed’s best albums, it is definitely worth a listen. Die hard fans will be pleased the album’s speed and the precision of the soloing found in the tracks, not to mention the skillful song writing, and “newbies” will find themselves enthralled with a sound something like an amalgamation of Sodom and Megadeth. Overall, I would definitely recommend giving this album a listen. Deviation or not, Napalm Nights is a stellar example of metal in its purest form.
1. The Devil Swept the Ruins
3. Cursed Beyond Recognition
4. The Bitch of Buchenwald
5. Napalm Nights
7. Under the Whip
8. Dragging the Priest