This is, of course, one of those 7” EP’s that can’t be missed and is a definite must-have for anyone into old school metal. Nocturnal has, since their inception 2000, been one of the most steady forces in the revival of old school thrash metal – knee-deep in the German thrash roots. And, Pagan Rites are basically an all-star underground band with people who have been/are active in bands like Devil Lee Rot, Autopsy Torment, Tristitia, The Ancient’s Rebirth, Crossbow etc. and even more ex-members with quite a curriculum vitae.
Nocturnal opens their part of the 7” with one brand new song that just perfectly fits in their tradition of furious German-styled thrash metal. This is exactly how this should sound, raw and unpolished yet honest and violent thrash metal, just like it was made about twenty years ago. Yet, it has to be said that the new song on this 7” is not the best we’ve heard from Nocturnal, it still is a great addition to your (Nocturnal) collection. The live song on this EP is even rawer and is, at times, hard to follow, but still a great listen if you are used to listen to live tapes or even bootlegs.
Pagan Rites, on the other side, is a lot darker in sound a bit more catchy in terms of the sing-along-80s-heavy-metal. It might not be a surprise that the major influences for Pagan Rites are NWOBHM (Venom!), epic US metal (Manilla Road), rock ‘n’ roll (Motörhead) and German thrash (Destruction). Together this blends into a rather low-fi but still surprisingly easylistening due to the rather catchy riffs and recognizable lyrics/vocals. Raw in sound but straight from the heart heavy metal, the way it was done, years and years ago.
Even if the music might not entirely be your thing, the cover-art for Nocturnal’s part of this split 7” is worth the bucks. Old school horror in the best tradition, a painting of some zombies and a girl, what else would you need? The EP is a great gatefold, printed in full colour and fits perfectly in the high-quality releases done by Hells Headbangers. And, besides that, these two bands are on the top of today’s underground metal movement. Killer stuff.