Nocturnal Torment: They Come At Night

They Come At Night is the debut album from US metalers Nocturnal Torment which has been twenty years in the making. Well not exactly true as though formed in 1988 commitments of the members to other projects  and bands took precedent resulting in Nocturnal Torment becoming dormant until recently. With a sound heavily soaked in the black depths of old school death metal lined with a thrash intensity recalling the likes of Pestilence, Monstrosity, Kreator, and Dark Angel, the Indiana based quartet of Mark Schultz (Guitar/Vocals), Tom Stathis (Guitar/Vocals), Pete Clemens (Bass), and Dave Ross (Drums)return with an album that does grabs attention. With riffs that slam hard and grooves that whip a storm throughout the ear the release leaves a distinct mark but not always for what it intended.  At times it verges on uncontrolled randomness and messy to overall disappoint and offer nothing really to excite.

Very often the nine tracks within They Come At Night produce ear startlingly moments that threaten to light up the senses but just as often they are whipped away by the bands desire to unleash a storm upon the senses without any kind of seeming subtlety or care. The songs often feel like a patchwork of ideas and a flurry of riffs just eager to assault without a clear and seamless transition. To be fair often this works well as in Cycle Of Life and Sweet Decay but it is rarely sustained. It is almost as if the band is trying to bring tech metal into play without actually going there, and as if they are playing with structures without either understanding how. For a band whose  bio suggests its members have been in bands since Nocturnal Torment had its enforced hiatus it is a surprisingly loose display and makes one ask whether the recordings come from back in their formative years though there is nothing else to suggest it.

Despite these things tracks like the aforementioned Cycle Of Life and Sweet Decay, plus Forever Eternal Darkness do hit the mark more often than not without ever being truly satisfying as do moments in the likes of Fresh Flesh Fetish and the title track. The heavy barracking of the drums and abusive riffs are malicious which drives the songs home powerfully and to their benefit erecting a wall of intensity that covers the less successful things beneath at times. I have to say that the desire to really like this album often reared its head on the album, and in many ways They Come At Night gives firm suggestion of possible great things ahead for Nocturnal Torment once they work on their style and fine tune what are basically bold and inventive ideas. They Come At Night is far from a car crash and should be checked out but against similar veined releases such as the new Desaster album it pales sadly.

RingMaster 23/02/2012

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