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Nocturnus | Etheral Tomb | review | metal | Lollipop


Etheral Tomb (Necropolis)
by Tim Den

I remember one of the biggest disappointments of my early foray into death metal was Nocturnus' debut, The Key. Elementary Satan-meets-sci-fi lyrics, disoriented arrangements, and a vocalist who sounded like he barely tried to push words out of his mouth (never mind setting them playfully on top of the music) almost made me reconsider this whole "cookie monster metal" thing. The band's unique use of keyboards raised my eyebrow a bit, but its use was so minimal and unintelligible that it never made much of an impact. It was one of the worst things I'd ever heard. I never paid attention to them after that.

After The Key, the band made a second record (Thresholds), toured, got a bunch of new members, then broke up. All for the better, I thought. Now, almost seven years after the band's demise, they're back to prove that they were "ground-breakers." "Yeah right," I snickered. "The Nocturnus I remember couldn't prove they knew how to hold a song down to save their lives." After listening to Ethereal Tomb, however, I knew my presumptions were wrong based on one fact: this is not the Nocturnus that I remember. This is not the Nocturnus from The Key. This is a razor-sharp, atmospheric venture into the realm of prog-death left behind by Cynic and Atheist. Clean guitars, multiple vocal stylings (now that they've got a new singer), and mood-setting keyboards right up front that sound like Dream Theater meets Morbid Angel. To say that the band has "matured" would be an understatement. Nocturnus in 2000 is so good, it scares me. Once a mockery of death metal trying to be "weird" and scary at the same time, Nocturnus presently symbolizes precision, honed experimentation, and the furthest regions of a brilliant genre. Incredibly dynamic yet brutal.

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