Aussie blackthrashers Nocturnal Graves exist at that pure sweetspot of this particular metallic subgenre that apparently only Antipodeans can master; If you love bands like Gospel of the Horns and Deströyer 666 yet somehow haven’t yet got to grips with NG then I suspect your head might explode after a short assignation with An Outlaw’s Stand…
The key to the band’s sound is the raw-throated brutality of Prain‘s vocal assault laid against the crystalline virtuosity of Decaylust and Shrapnel‘s lead guitar armageddon… Even within the wall of sound set up by the rest of the band, these two aspects of the Nocturnal Graves sound cut through the aural sturm und drang with clarion strength. The solo that erupts in the middle of Across The Acheron is nothing short of perfect, rising above the filth of one-man rhythm section J.R.‘s mayhemic destruction like a particularly magnificent phoenix.
No Mercy For Weakness is blackthrash incarnate, a well, merciless onslaught of hate carved from adamantine riffs and unforgiving percussion; the drop into doom territory just before the song’s midpoint shows the band’s grasp of dynamics in thrilling focus, whilst the solo manages to encapsulate the best of Hanneman and King in less time than it actually takes to bark out SLAAYYEERRR!!
As ever with this style of music, there’s precious little innovation here. But where Nocturnal Graves score heaviest is in their ability to manipulate the genre’s tropes with a sure handed, DEFT confidence that allows them to present an album that sounds fresh and exciting despite the tried and tested nature of both the music and the lyrics. You’ve heard the likes of Law of the Blade before, sure, but the sheer joie de morte with which the music is delivered ensures that this doesn’t matter in the slightest. These guys have kicked off 2022 in absolutely brutal style, and more power to them I say! HORNS UP!
An Outlaw’s Stand releases on January 7th.