NOCTURNUS AD — Paradox (review)

NOCTURNUS AD — Paradox album cover Album · 2019 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Paradox" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Florida based death metal act Nocturnus A.D.. The album was released through Profound Lore Records in May 2019. The original Nocturnus was founded in 1987 by lead vocalist/drummer Mike Browning after leaving Morbid Angel. Browning recorded two albums with Nocturnus in the early 90s, before he was fired from the band which led to an acrimonious battle over the Nocturnus name. A battle which Browning lost preventing him from releasing anything using the Nocturnus name. In 1999 Browning and two of the other original members of Nocturnus founded Nocturnus A.D., but soon changed the name to After Death, to avoid confusion with the then still active Nocturnus. In the years between 2000-2013 After Death released some demos, but didn´t get around to releasing any new studio material. In the meantime Nocturnus called it quits, and Browning decided to change the name of his band back to Nocturnus A.D.. With a lineup of new musicians (who joined the band in 2013 or later, one of them being former Xecutioner/Obituary bassist Daniel Tucker), Browning and the rest of the band were finally able to record and release "Paradox".

As far as I can see the album features new original material, and none of the demo material from the After Death days (if interested you can find that material compiled on the 2007 "Retronomicon" compilation album released under the After Death monicker). Instead Nocturnus A.D. have opted to release an album which sounds like it´s the lost album, which should have been released after Nocturnus debut album "The Key (1990)", reintroducing sci-fi elements and themes, which had otherwise been reduced in favor of more occult tinged lyrical themes, during the After Death days. On "Paradox" the sci-fi themes and the occult/anti-Christian themes are combined, just as the case was on "The Key (1990)".

It´s actually amazing how similar in sound and style "Paradox" is to "The Key (1990)" (the biggest difference is the presence of occasional blast beats on "Paradox") and it was pretty surely a conscious decision by the band to write material that fans of their debut album could instantly relate to. So the listener is treated to well played old school death metal, with nods toward technical/progressive death metal, featuring atmospheric and futuristic sounding keyboards, loads of fast shredding guitar solos, solid drumming (a bit "stiff" at times, but suiting the music well), and Browning´s raw barking growling vocals in front. I´m persionally not a huge fan of his voice and vocal style (hoarse throaty growling, staccato phrasing), but I enjoy that the vocals are intelligible. "Paradox" is a concept album, which continues the sci-fi/occult themed story which was initiated on "The Key (1990)", so there´s further conceptual continuity there.

"Paradox" features a raw, detailed, and powerful sound production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion Nocturnus A.D. have created a high quality death metal release, and while the different name should prevent me from calling this a true comeback album, I´ll risk the wrath of the gods and call it just that. This sounds more like Nocturnus than the "real" Nocturnus ever did after Browning was kicked out. Welcome back. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
38 days ago
A lot of people do :-) Not my poison though.
Tupan wrote:
38 days ago
Good review. But I like the vocals, haha

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