Album Review: NOCTURNAL GRAVES Satan's Cross
Season Of Mist's Underground Activists subsidiary has always been a really fascinating label, putting out unique reissues, cool things from the underground and generally exposing metal fans to the dark underbelly of this world we all love. The latest offering from the storied label is a reissue of Nocturnal Graves 2007 classic, Satan's Cross. This is the sort of thrashy black metal record that reminds us why the genre rose to prominence in the first place, and with the addition of the demo of the same name tacked on to the end we also get a sense of where this whole thing came from. Having that sense of scale and having that history imbued in the music is strangely addictive. Satan's Cross has been a favorite of mine for a long time, but this reissue I think really has given me a minute to reflect on what is very much a foundational record for the genre. Chock to the brim with gnarly riffs, delicious "blech"s and a sense of swagger that permeates every aspect of the music, Satan's Cross can't help but to be spun time and time again.
What I've always loved about thrashy black metal is the eternal 15 year old it summons inside of you. Not only is it one of metals more blatantly evil subgenres, but it's so fun to get hooked on catchy thrash hooks with punchy little turnarounds that remind you why you got into the genre in the first place. I think we all can appreciate a riff that makes you snap your neck and that's sort of the entire point of Satan's Cross. It's an album that screeches black metal slaughter and which makes it clear that Nocturnal Graves is planning on taking no prisoners. This is what this type of music has always been about, coming out with a brash assault, beating the listener into the ground. You can practically see the circle pits opening up on some of these tracks and that only adds to the bloodthirsty sense of fun that will keep you coming back. Toss in a wild ass solo or two and you start to grasp the wonderful insanity that has come to define what Nocturnal Graves is all about.
As the ominous opening of a track like 'Whore Of Sodom' kicks in in all of its Slayer worshiping glory you feel your body being twisted into unholy motion, a slave to the demonic urges that define Nocturnal Graves. This is an album that careens about, flying from strength to strength and never slowing down for long enough for you to even consider some of the flaws. Sure the production is still subpar and their is a little bit of fat here and there, but as far as blackened thrash metal albums go this one has a reason that it's one of the best there is and a reason it's one of those records that fans of the genre have declared sacred. I'm curious to see how much renewed interest this reissue garners because it's an utter masterpiece whose blood you will want to sip for ages.