Carry The Beast
Review by Felix on July 2, 2023.
Hey, dudes of Nocturnal Breed, I have a question. Don’t worry, it’s a simple one. What went wrong? You have already proven your compositional talent and your technical skills. Brilliant works such as Fields Of Rot and We Only Came For The Violence still bring a wicked, vicious and violent nekrohagel over me. But now… once again, what went wrong? Is Carry The Beast really the album you wanted to release? Seriously?
Okay, let’s get into the details. The long-player (very long, by the way, 71 minutes) begins with 'Thrash Metal Hate Saw (The Last Act of Terror)' and, sad but true, the titles are the best component of the entire album. But sorry, wait a moment… some people say that the album begins already with the title track. But they must be kidding, this overlong intro confuses stage-setting with stupid and offers nothing but a whole lot of nothing. I assume Nocturnal Breed pissed off someone in the studio and this insidious person cheated that shit onto their record without their knowledge. 'Atomic Cruiser' (cool title again) also goes completely into the wrong direction. It is just a totally useless intermezzo that fulfils its only purpose, the destruction of the album’s already fragile flow, excellently. Dreamy guitars indicate that the band has fallen into an endless dark galaxy. That’s okay, but why the hell do we have to accompany them? 'Nosferata' is the third non-song-number with some blah-blah, a film sample – wow, how eerie! Almost as eerie as it is meaningless. And that’s still not enough: the fittingly titled 'I Felt Nothing' gets the award for the fourth sound collage idiots will love. Yes, I feel nothing. I no longer have the strength to be angry about it.
Let’s get back to the 'Hate Saw'. Sharp riffs and howling guitars kick off the song and it feels good that the Breed is still able to present a dynamic, pretty frantic number with the well-known with breathless, rushed-sounding vocals. Nevertheless, a little problem shows up, because the song is a minute too long. Nocturnal Breed do not come to the point and this turns out to be a real showstopper when it comes to the next track 'Knights Of Denim'. Everything is said and done after four minutes, speedy parts, galloping sequences and comparatively soft guitars have contributed their share, too. But the Norwegians know no mercy and dish up wannabe-atmospheric parts with science fiction keyboards and nobody knows why. This makes absolutely no sense. Four minutes substance, nine minutes song – one can only wonder.
Wallowing in opulence seems to be the new hobby of the band. With the exception of 'Nosferata', all songs cross the five minute border. Of course, this is no mistake per se, but most black thrash masterpieces rely on a crisp and compact configuration. 'Salt The Wounds' is the next track that falls victim to its over-length. Admittedly, some cool riffs show up and the single part are more or less okay, but the song as a whole lacks coherence. The opening riff of 'Raise The Flag... And The Hordes Will Follow' makes things better, even though it seems to be the little brother of the one that built the base of 'War-Metal Engine'. Anyhow, the song offers four minutes of straight power, before a solo and a tempo change clouds the view. The slightly oriental ending rounds off this strong number, which remains the undisputed highlight of the output.
Production-wise… honestly speaking, I am too disappointed to lose many words about it. The so-called bonus tracks 'Trench Fever' and 'Blitzhammer', duration: more than eight minutes each, of course, seem to be recorded in a bin, while the other songs do not suffer from an almost amateurish appearance. Indeed, the technical implementation is not the main problem of Carry The Beast and the same goes for its stereotyped artwork. It’s the length of the songs (even the initially casual Motörhead bow 'I Ain’t Marching Anymore' doesn’t find an end) and the strange intros / intermezzos that suck. These two deficiencies characterise the album, not solid tracks like 'Lady Vampire' with its horror vibes. One thrilling highlight and some good parts that form a couple of more or less solid yet overweight tunes – that’s almost miserable in view of Nocturnal Breed’s actually very strong skills. So please tell me: what went wrong?
Rating: 5.7 out of 10631
Review by Michael on June 17, 2023.
I have to say that I think "The Final Frontier" by Iron Maiden is a pretty cool album, especially considering that nothing too noteworthy came from Iron Maiden after that. The boring and meaningless intro 'Satellite 15' has always annoyed me, however, there seem to be Iron Maiden fans who see it completely differently, because otherwise I can't explain the over 5 minutes lasting intro 'Carry The Beast' of the album of the same name by Nocturnal Breed. A strange soundscape with whispering threatening vocals - that could perhaps have been done differently to impress the listener.
Anyway, with 'Thrash Metal Hate Saw (The Last Act Of Terror)' the Norwegians around the ex-Gehenna bassist S.A. Destroyer finally start in their typical thrash-black metal manner and deliver what one is used to from the likable chaots since their debut album Aggressor back in 1997. Also songs like 'Raise The Flag...And The Hordes Will Follow' or 'Lady Vampire' go into the usual stylistic direction, whereby it's a bit mysterious to me why the sound quality of the latter song drops a lot and sounds like a demo version recorded on a tape. Nevertheless, 'Lady Vampire' is a gripping song with cool hooks and melodies that spreads a slightly haunting atmosphere. With 'Knights Of Denim' (song title of the month!!!) the Norwegians build a bridge between their classic black-thrash and classic heavy metal and sound like a nasty bastard of Motörhead, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, only wrapped in a Nocturnal Breed dress. Galloping drums and typical 80s melodies line up and the whole thing is mighty fun. Also fun is the homage to Lemmy 'I Ain't Marching No More' (does anyone remember the criminally underrated 92 album "March Or Die"), - dirty rock n' roll guitars, the same repetitive basslines and even the vocals of S.A. Destroyer sounds growly-crunchy Whiskey and Marlboro-laden like Lemmy. Great song that spreads a fantastic party atmosphere!
However, Carry The Beast has not only killer songs, but also sags. Thus, in addition to the intro, 'Atomic Cruiser' is a song that is more or less a sound collage and with just some seconds under 6 minutes this one is also much too long. Also the CD bonus tracks are not really what you got to hear on the last albums of Nocturnal Breed. Similar to 'Lady Vampire', I have the feeling that they used some old demo songs that were left over from a recording session. Content-wise they are not bad (apart from the sound collages), but the production could have been improved a bit, then there would have been more in terms of rating.
Thus, the feeling remains that the deceleration of the last Corona years have not really done the band good and the guys are still somewhat stuck in this mode. Or like my favorite soccer club Borussia Dortmund sometimes manages - one good and one bad half.
Rating: 7.7 out of 10631