It's been seven years since Norwegian death-thrash vets NOCTURNAL BREED put out a new album. A band that has shared with the metal world members of SATYRICON, DIMMU BORGIR, AETERNUS and GEHANNA, NOCTURNAL BREED's contributions, oddly enough, get mentioned far less than they should.
Following a lengthy sojourn from their last offering "Fields of Rot", bassist/vocalist S.A. Destroyer and drummer Tex Terror found early years guitarist I. Maztor rejoining the fold along with second guitarist V. Fineideath, both coming along in 2011. The band took three years with this augmentation to deliver "Napalm Nights", a fast and ultra-tight return to form that will please damned near anyone coming to it.
Nocturno Culto of DARKTHRONE guest stars on "Napalm Nights" with lead vocals on "Krigshisser D.N.K." and supplemental singing on "Speedkrieg", "Thrashiac" and "The Bitch of Buchenwald". NOCTURNAL BREED alumnus A.E. Rattlehead also cameos on the album, lending guitars on "Under the Whip" and "Thrashiac".
Wasting not a second to make a statement that no rust has settled in the NOCTURNAL BREED camp, S.A. Destroyer greets his fans with laugh-pukes on "The Devil Swept the Ruins" that lock into the smacked-about thrash waves setting up each of the verses. S.A. Destroyer switches up lower and higher octaves behind his spit-flung screaming, while the band volleys between hard-punching mid-tempo lines and rumbling speed during the solo section. More tricks come about within this song, including cadaverous acoustics on the tempered bridge, setting up for a stirring second solo section.
Right afterwards, NOCTURNAL BREED fuses marching soldiers and war echoes to usher the snapping thrash of "Speedkrieg". Carrying a theme about the horrors of war on "Napalm Nights", NOCTURNAL BREED fling more soundbites of battlefront destruction on the title track. The song plays as a mid-tempo, trad metal popper that grows winding and progressive inside the morose final four of the thirteen minute composition. Genuine lament emits from "Napalm Nights" as NOCTURNAL BREED continues to barrage it with clamorous military engagements.
Using his own voice as an air raid siren at the opening of "Thrashiac", S.A. Destroyer has the band rip away with strenuous speed and emphasizing riff taps to accent each of Tex Terror's rapid head claps. In tandem, they sound like a calibrated machine which S.A. Destroyer shrieks his guts out overtop and somehow comes up with a catchy shout-along for the choruses. Laid down in similar fashion is the succeeding song, "Dawn Campaign…Flamethrower Ridge". Both of these tracks rip and tear like DESTRUCTION and will have no trouble prompting old school whirlpools on the floor, inside or even out of a live venue.
The fun and speedy banger "The Bitch of Buchenwald" comes off like a blackened up MOTÖRHEAD track with its steady crash, whumping chords and S.A. Destroyer's chunky Lemmy impersonations, previously heard on this album at the tail end of "Speedkrieg". The snappy, harmonic riffs on the verses of "The Bitch of Buchenwald" makes it irresistible.
"Under the Whip" slows things down for the most part and lays down a heavy duty power drive made for ankle stamping and knuckle pumping. After that, "Dragging the Priests" increases momentum with each massive, melodic riff and clouting rhythm. Once the song hits full thrash mode, even these guys can barely contain the thrust until rolling the song back incrementally before a second gory round to the finish. "Dragging the Priests" hilariously ends on a peppy gospel hymn bombed by more combat catatonics.
As the cliché goes, some things are worth waiting for. In NOCTURNAL BREED's case, "Napalm Nights" delivers big. The time spent largely in retreat has rekindled a cranked-up hellfire that should hopefully kick up a due buzz around this act.