No Retreat... No Surrender
Review by Felix on March 24, 2022.
No Retreat... No Surrender is not one of the most glamorous stages in the discography of the evil-minded death squadron called Nocturnal Breed. The shabby-foolish artwork is the least of the problems. Unfortunately, the Norwegians' second full-length suffers from a multitude of unengaging songs and an unconvincing guitar sound. The latter can only rarely give the material a deep and / or ominous note. This leads to the fact that especially some tracks of the first half are recognisable as blackened thrashers mainly because of Destroyer's solid jangling. There is no fundamental lack of substance, but the moments are missing that are needed to give nice tracks a memorable shape of their own.
If I'm going about it maliciously, the first really completely successful track is 'Roadkill Maze' - and that starts at position 10. Without rushing, the bass opens with a few cool notes, casual, dirty guitars join in and as the track progresses, keyboards reinforce the track's finally dark atmosphere. A speed part is also included, so there is little to complain about. To be honest, this track doesn't come a second too soon, because the cover version of 'Under The Blade' may make lipstick monster Dee S. happy, but otherwise the mood tends to go downhill. 'Possessed' follows 'Roadkill Maze' and pleases thanks to the genre-typical mixture of sharpness and snot. Afterwards, Nocturnal Breed take the epic hammer out of the cupboard. I don't know if black thrash necessarily needs 8-minute songs. But 'Armageddon Nights' is not boring at any time, surprises with mid-tempo guitars and a surprising intermezzo with calm guitars that lead to a part which is characterized by broad keyboards carpets. And what are eight minutes? 16 years later, 'Armageddon Nights' had become Napalm Nights and they even lasted over 12 minutes.
The strong end of the album, however, does not hide the fact that much of it remains stuck in the midfield of artistic class. Too much rushes past the listener without leaving a lasting impression. Even the unpretentious, strongly steaming opener doesn't really hit the target. This is only partly due to the production. As already said, the guitar sound has its pitfalls, but otherwise everything is in the green zone. Conclusion: If No Retreat... No Surrender would be Nocturnal Breed's only album, it would be their best, but the band would also be long forgotten. Not only their brilliant We Only Came For The Violence is in a different league.
Rating: 7 out of 10428