It's hard to complain when a band takes influences from German stalwarts like SODOM and DESTRUCTION without totally losing an individual identity. "Code of Violence" from Detroit's NOCTURNAL FEAR is meat and potatoes dark 'n' brutal thrash that will win the act no awards for originality, nor is that the intent. The trio may not quite reach the heights of Michigan brethren SUMMON (though more of a blackened thrash outfit), but that is to take nothing away from "Code of Violence", which is one heck of a neck-snapping good time. Incidentally, ex-SUMMON member Necromodeus (bass/vocals) is now a NOCTURNAL FEAR storm trooper.
On "Code of Violence", the tempos clobber at breakneck speed (save for the occasional changeup), the delivery is no-nonsense, and the songs are structured in a conventional format that makes for easy absorption and allows for a shout/scream/bark along factor. The rapid-fire approach is devoid of subtly and always comes with a frantic conglomeration of guitars, bass, and drums, just as it should be. No messing about with needless overdubs or layering to hide weak musicianship, this one's all about three guys that knock the living shit out of their instruments. The sound is a natural one with guitar licks that slash and rip all over the place. Here again though, the "song" is front and center, making tracks like "Out for Revenge", "Mind Control", "Rising Hatred", the title track (OK, it's pretty much every song) memorable. Once in a while you'll hear an old school SLAYER vibe, particularly on "Mind Control", which also happens to be one of many on which the licks of Rev. Chris Slavehunter PhD swirl maniacally and slice through the air like a scythe.
"Code of Violence" is a vicious thrash album that pays tribute to the Teutonic legends, while still managing to instill its own fiendish character into the music. This ain't about trends either; it's about cracking skulls. End of story.