Nocturnus - _Ethereal Tomb_
(Season of Mist, 1999)
by: Paul Schwarz (8.5 out of 10)
Nocturnus were using keyboards to augment vitriolic, technical death metal in 1990 when most of their scene hardly knew what a keyboard was. Now, seven years since their last full-length, they're back together. Nocturnus have not kept themselves as drastically ahead of the game as they were a decade ago, but who could reasonably expect that? And who needs it when _Ethereal Tomb_ is such a convincing musical step for the band. Davis' and McNenney's guitars are no longer wildly technical but drivingly percussive. Having focused on creating film-soundtrack-like sci-fi atmospheres, Panzer's keyboards and new vocalist Emo Mowery's vocal performance have become the deciding elements in Nocturnus' sound. Panzer is allowed considerably more space to breathe, a fact particularly evidenced by the solo keyboard nature of last track "Outland", which is meant to capture the feel of the final credits of a film. _Ethereal Tomb_ is different, though not as much to my taste as _The Key_, and enjoyable of itself, not simply because it is one of my favourite death metal bands returning, seemingly, from the dead. For a band too long neglected and underrated it is a good re-entry into a scene they have so long been absent from. I expect even better things in the years to come. Nocturnus, welcome back.

(article published 3/5/2000)


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