Nocturnal Fear – Excessive Cruelty (Moribund Records)

Friday, 22nd March 2013
Rating: 7/10

Excessive Cruelty. Such a familiar sounding title, it’s like Nocturnal Fear nicked it from the notepads of Mille Petrozza or Tom Angelripper. And it makes sense, for NF’s brand of proto-thrash is of the German variety, thus ushering a barrage of milltary-beats, barked vocals, and songs about war, explosions, explosions that happen during war, and wars that happen before and after explosions.

For a straight-thrash band, a lot of these songs are long, maybe too long. The downbeat-happy nature of Nocturnal Fear’s sound allows for a pretty straight bead throughout the album’s nine songs, making it smidge hard to pick out anything that stands out from the pack, although “Rolling Thunder” has a rather catchy and extreme chorus. Some attempts at enhancing the band’s sound are made on “World War 3” by way some organ action and quirky harmonies, while the technical envelope is pushed on “Frozen In Stone.”

Singer Devastator may not have a German cackle and caw, but he’s damn throaty and frothy when barking out those one-word choruses. His cadence and rapid-fire delivery on the title track is right out of the Kreator circa-1985 playbook, sounding as if it’s the likely successor to “Flag of Hate,” only with a better production and lack of Petrozza’s unintentionally humorous vocal yelps.

As faithful of a recreation of the German thrash sound as you’re going to find,Excessive Cruelty succeeds in creating a pummeling array of songs. This gun-toting type of thrash is infinitely more intimidating than any puny teenager wearing a bullet belt…which yours truly used to wear eons ago. It wouldn’t be worn around Nocturnal Fear, that’s for sure.

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