The Key review by Nocturnus

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  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 10 (4 votes)
Nocturnus: The Key

Sound — 8
First off, the sound of this album is similar to that of Morbid Angels debut, landmark "Death Metal" classic, Altars Of Madness. The Production is clear, but it has a certain evil rasp and flare to it, it keeps you on the edge of your seat at times and at others not so much. You can hear the guitar solos quite well and the entire mix is very nicely assembled, albeit the Bass guitar is nearly unheard of, yet, that does not detract from the overall quality of the album. Contained within the album is a high number of fast paced, shredded solos and whammy abuse, from the young axemen, Mike Davis and Sean McNenny. The entire album is filled with fast paced thrashy riffs, and at times with a Gothenburg type feel, which is nearly always accompanied by short to mid sized bursts of shred guitar. These fast, thrashy speed metal type riffs, couple with the huge abundance of guitar solos make for a terrific classic album, with a clear sound in the fact that you can hear every note and beat clearly and still be torn in to shreds with the evil and raspy production.

Lyrics — 7
This is one of Nocturnus's Key traits, their odd combination of Sci-fi and Occult themed lyrics. Drawing on the influences of the bands members, particuarly Mike Browning and Mike Davis, the lyrics on this album come together in an odd concept of a Cyborg traveling back in time to kill one Baby Jesus Christ. Here is an excerpt from the song, "Destroying The Manger": "Following the North Star shining abright To a place of the holy birth site Craving my need to kill the one Born of the name Nazarene Son" Fortunately, the odd mix of lyrical material comes together in a truly unique and memorable way in the form of such heavy music, and judging by the reaction of fans roughly twenty years after this albums release, this album only fails in one thing, to disappoint. Great work in the lyrical department and it just goes to show what can be achieved when two experimental minds come together to collaborate on a piece as epic as that which is known as "The Key".

Overall Impression — 9
This album is comparable to Morbid Angels "Altars Of Madness". Only for the facts that it is equally chaotic, shares a similar, yet clearer and warmer production, and has guitar solos in abundance. My personal picks from this album are: Lake Of Fire Standing In Blood Andromeda Strain Droid Sector Neolithic I personally just love the overall atmosphere and the quality of such an impressive debut album from the young Tampa headbangers known As Nocturnus. I love the great shred pieces and the simplistic, yet at times relentless drum work of one Mr Mike Browning, who also did lead vocals on the album. There is nothing I really dislike on this album, but I would have prefered extended solos on some tracks, but that is not a mark against this album at all in my opinion. My friend also had a listen to some tracks off of this album via youtube and he liked it so much that he's paying me to buy him a copy! If this album was lost or stolen, I would buy another one and hope some deserving young lad that was out of pocket took it, and hope he truly enjoys this landmark classic. This album truly is a masterpiece in the realm of heavy music, this is a must for all fans of extreme metal and if you have not heard any material off of this album, go and listen to it now any way you can, it truly is a magical piece of art.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i just listened to this album. its forgotten in the death metal community. its purely amazing.
    Best death metal album of all time. It introduced me to the genre, and I still come back to it 20 years later.