Aside from being “that keyboard band” among Florida’s arsenal of 90s death metal, Nocturnus was also pretty far outside the box thematically. It was all about quantum physics, time travel, intergalactic conquests, all garnished nicely with a pentagram in the logo for good measure. It’s also easy to forget that back in 1990 guitarists Mike Davis and Sean McNenney blazed through fretwork that would put today’s quasi-technical mainstream death metal to shame. The lo-fi retro extreme metal of today may successfulyl reunite the estranged outgrowths of death and black metal (which now number in the hundreds) but it will likely never do so with an attention to musicianship and technicality. The work of Nocturnus was as atmospheric as it was sonically ambitious and would easily appeal to the disciples of the blackened prog work of Ihsahn, Equilibrium era Emperor, Enslaved or Arcturus. And of course, at least part of this album being about time travel, this might be the most meta edition of Tuesday Time Machine yet.
“Vision From Beyond the Grave” - If even just for a moment you can envision Ihsahn’s vocals over the top of this track, you have later Emperor almost a full-decade before Norway’s legends took that creative turn on IX Equilibirium. The dissonant keys, odd scale runs and overarching spaced-out paranoia is all still somehow catchy as hell.
“Undead Journey” – Atmospheric strains of death metal would become all the rage in later years, culminating in various fusions with doom. Though this band was initially trolled for their employment of a full-time keyboardist, it’s refreshingly original in retrospect, adding depth to extreme metal’s rich history in Florida.
“Andromeda Strain” – This is probably strongest song on the album not just form a technicality standpoint but because lyrically it deals with the Andromeda galaxy which, for those who may not know, is the closest one to our own Milky Way galaxy. The two galaxies are on a collision course with shit set to get REAL in about 5 billion years. “With how you write, I wish it was sooner”. Hey now. If you just cut out the snark, you’ll hear the remarkable influence these guys have had not just on modern tech death — a craze which is tragically often just a mechanization of Nocturnus, Pestilence, Death, Atheist, etc– but also on Shreddernet home team Nylithia.