Code of Violence

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The latest album from Detroit's Nocturnal Fear, a trio of thrashing cacophony, features a cover depicting a gas-masked soldier viciously jamming a knife through some unlucky Arab patron, as shambled, smoke-trodden buildings adorn the background. Shit! But then its Code of Violence title would suggest this kind of typical thrash metal imagery. If only the music was as morbidly enticing as its dastardly cover. ...

Nocturnal Fear's sound is a product of the thrash school of thought that wants to take the unwashed metal of the mid-'80s and beef it up. The problem most metal bands face exploring this style, though, is that it generally ends up sounding like a bland, gentile rehash. And so it is with Code of Violence. It has the right attitude: "We're sloppy, but fuck it!" Yet, its enthusiasm can't hide the fact it's just plain, boring, textbook thrash metal. Nocturnal Fear wears on your nerves very quickly.

Still, they're tight, despite the disarranged and frantic pace with which they zoom through these 10 tracks. The hilariously (and odiously) monikered guitarist Slave Hunter can really shoot out flurries of brow-raising riffs, which are matched by the singularly named Aggressor's constant clattering havoc behind the drum kit. And vocalist-bassist Necromodeus' howling metal rasp is perfect for this kind of band. So Code of Violence's recipe for extreme metal reads right; it just fails to sustain any kind of real passion to give listening to it any real purpose.

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