AN NCS ALBUM PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): BLACK BEAST — “NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST”
On November 8th Primitive Reaction will release Nocturnal Bloodlust, the debut album of Finland’s Black Beast — which arrives a long 13 years after their last release (a split with Bloodhammer), so long ago that many of you may not be aware of their existence (I was not). But this debut full-length blazes like a meteor in the night sky, and should quickly elevate them from cult obscurity to a more exalted place in the Finnish black metal star-field.
Nocturnal Bloodlust presents a transfixing blend of bestiality, lust, and anthemic grandeur, with great song-craft to go along with the band’s unwavering devotion to rampant flame-spewing demonism.
Even the “Prelude” track that opens the album is an orgy of sound. The drums race in a gallop, wild cries soar sky-high, the chords writhe in carnal power, the leads are flurries of heated blood. And after that, Black Beast show no interest in resting, or allowing the listener any rest.
They shift into overdrive immediately in the follow-on to that prelude. “Black Seremony” hails Lucifer with hyper-driven drum blasting, maniacally pulsating bass lines, furiously slicing and arrogantly swaggering riffs, and demonic vocal fury (which is scorching yet intelligible). You’ll discover in this track, however, that Black Beast aren’t a one-note band. They slow the pace, bring deep reverent vocals into play, and draw a cloak of ominous and imperious gloom around the music.
While sheer blood-lusting assaults driven at high speed are clearly the band’s forte, they continue to throw tempo and rhythmic changes into their blasts of berserker violence, breaking into punk-influenced cadences and dropping into imperious, pounding marches, while also giving more than a few nods to Motörhead. And they also send bleak yet grand melodies sweeping across riotous blasting, often giving the songs a feeling of poisonous eminence to go along with the lewd and lascivious thrusting, the alcohol-fueled rocking, and the episodes of cold-hearted cruelty.
Their sound also finds a sweet spot between clarity and filthiness, and there’s a fine balance in the mix, with plenty of low-end heft to go along with the high fieriness of the riffs.
Make no mistake, Nocturnal Bloodlust is fire-breathing satanic music, and frequently reaches heights of orgiastic violence, but the songs are written with careful attention to dynamism and melody, expertly executed (the drumming in particular is fantastic), and the flow from track to track and within the songs is so good that there’s no risk of losing the listeners’ attention.
“Unholy One” and “Symbol for My Devotion” happen to be this writer’s favorite songs (and I’m a sucker for the sorcerous solo in the title track), but there really aren’t any weak links in the running order. If you’re interested in just sampling before devoting time for the full album run, you could pick any one at random and get a good feel for the band’s formidable prowess.
Black Beast will play an album-release gig at the SteelChaos festival on November 8-9 in Helsinki, Finland. Also on the same release date, Primitive Reaction will reissue the band’s 2006 split with Bloodhammer (Unholy Finnish Black Horror Union) on CD and, for the first time ever, vinyl LP and cassette tape formats.
Nocturnal Bloodlust is available for pre-order now through Primitive Reaction in a variety of formats: