The Key album cover
The Key

Nocturnus

1990
Earache

Nocturnus were the first death metal band to incorporate keyboards, not just as textures, but as a key element of their intricate compositions. Their music set an early bar for technical complexity and featured insane guitar shredding from Mike Davis and Sean McNenney. Vocals (most courtesy of drummer Mike Browning) are filtered through electronics and hurled at the listener from all sides of the stereo field to disorienting effect. Plenty of death metal explores sci-fi themes, but The Key is one of the only death metal albums to actually sound like it’s from the future.

Phil Freeman

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