Album Review – Nocturnal Escape / Uncharted Pathways (2020)

This talented German horde returns with a brand new concept album marking a stylistic change from their original sound to a soundtrack-like Black Metal offering.

Brought into being in 2014 as a recording project by  Leo and Klaus Bergmann after their previous band Bleak disbanded, Augsburg, Germany-based Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal band Nocturnal Escape is back in action now in 2020 with their sophomore installment, entitled Uncharted Pathways, a concept album consisting of five songs with a combined running time of nearly 58 minutes, marking a stylistic change from the riff-laden Melodic Death Metal found in their 2015 self-titled debut album to a soundtrack-like Black Metal offering. Featuring a grim and exquisite artwork by artist Daniela Teichmann, the album also presents to the listener a new growler, Paul Perlberg (replacing Thomas Zimmermann), and a new session drummer, James Knoerl, instead of the programmed drums from their first album, providing the overall sound a more organic and, therefore, more intense vibe.

The serene keys by Leo kick off the 10-minute aria entitled Exodus, evolving into a fusion of classic Black and Doom Metal where Paul roars and gnarls in a true devilish manner, filling every single space in the air with its background choir-like sounds, ritualistic drums and scorching hot guitar riffs, ending in a climatic and melancholic manner and building an instant bridge to Forlorn, once again presenting whimsical sounds blended with the band’s most vicious and extreme side, with Leo and Klaus slashing their strings in great fashion and, consequently, providing Paul all he needs to vociferate like a demon while James dictates the song’s charming rhythm with his sluggish beats. In addition, it becomes crystal clear in this dense and distinguished tune how the band decided to distance themselves from Progressive Death and Black Metal, being now fully invested in a hybrid of Black, Folk and Epic Metal.

Then featuring guest Rüdiger Bergmann on trombone, the trio’s acoustic guitars and low-tuned, rumbling bass lines ignite the also multi-layered and vibrant Tranquillity, morphing into an obscure and crisp Black Metal extravaganza led by Leo and his venomous riffage while Paul adds an extra touch of evil to it with his deep, enraged growls, also bringing forward a few eerie, symphonic breaks to enhance the intricacy and drama of the overall result, sounding and feeling as epic and detailed as it can be. And the band keeps stimulating our senses with their classy extreme music in Insight, where all background elements generate a Stygian atmosphere that will darken your heart and soul. Furthermore, the Black Metal blast beats by James make an interesting paradox with the clean vocals by Leo, resulting in a lesson in Atmospheric Black Metal with Leo’s crisp riffs and solos being the icing on the cake. And accelerating their pace and enhancing their electricity they offer us all the closing tune Departure, featuring guest vocals by Stefan Bauer, with James hammering his drums mercilessly until gentle piano notes permeate the air intertwined with heavy riffs and dense bass lines, flowing into a very symphonic, epic and enfolding finale.

In case you think you have what it takes to face almost one hour of the atmospheric and obscure passages by Nocturnal Escape, you can take a full listen at Uncharted Pathways on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase the album from Apple Music, from Amazon or from the band’s own BandCamp page, where not only you’ll be able to compare their current sound with their debut effort, but you’ll also receive an exclusive remastered instrumental version of the entire album (which means almost 58 extra minutes of instrumental and atmospheric extreme music for your avid ears). Also, don’t forget to check what Leo, Klaus and Paul are up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, and let the atmospheric and very detailed Black Metal made in Germany found in Uncharted Pathways penetrate deep inside your mind.

Best moments of the album: Tranquillity and Departure.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Exodus 10:20
2. Forlorn 8:35
3. Tranquillity 12:34
4. Insight 12:21
5. Departure 13:54

BandCamp Exclusive Remastered Instrumental bonus tracks
6. Exodus (Instrumental) 10:20
7. Forlorn (Instrumental) 8:35
8. Tranquillity (Instrumental) 12:34
9. Insight (Instrumental) 12:21
10. Departure (Instrumental) 13:54

Band members
Leo Bergmann – guitars, keyboards, clean vocals
Klaus Bergmann – bass
Paul Perlberg – harsh vocals

Guest musicians
James Knoerl – drums (session)
Rüdiger Bergmann – trombone on “Tranquillity”
Stefan Bauer – vocals on “Departure”

Album Review – Nocturnal Escape / Nocturnal Escape (2015)

Do you love elaborate music, but at the same time do you feel an urge to bang your head nonstop? This skillful German act might have exactly what you’re looking for.

Rating5

Nocturnal Escape - Nocturnal Escape - coverIf you’re one of those demanding metalheads who’s always looking for fresh and complex music, which at the same time still offers a raw vibe or an evil aura that keeps the music as underground as possible the likes of Moonsorrow, Enslaved, Opeth and Amorphis, you’ll have a great time banging your head to Nocturnal Escape, the self-titled debut album by German Progressive Death/Black Metal band Nocturnal Escape.  It might not be an easy listen for people who are used to more straightforward rock and metal at first, but the quality of the music found in this album is so good you’ll end up succumbing to the band’s intricate darkness after a short while.

As a matter of fact, this Augsburg-based group is more like a project created by multi-instrumentalist Leo Bergmann in January 2014, a few months after his previous band, Bleak, disbanded in 2013. Leo was joined by his brother, bassist Klaus Bergmann (who also plays for the excellent German Death Metal band Disgusting Perversion), in late 2014, and also by vocalist Thomas Zimmermann, who added clean vocals to the album in 2015. I don’t know if they can be called a “power trio”, but they surely know how to make a lot of noise and how to fill every empty space with their notes, riffs and beats.

A demonic voice introduces us to the music by Nocturnal Escape in War Of Beliefs, a blend of Death and Black Metal so technical and obscure it’s not recommended for the faint-hearted. However, amidst all turbulence there’s room for tons of progressiveness and melody, with kudos to Leo for crafting such solid and entertaining musicality. What starts as an epic battle hymn evolves to boisterous Black Metal in Age Of Atrocity, with highlights to the nonstop riffs by Leo, the good balance between harsh and clean vocals thanks to a great job done by Thomas, and its meaningful lyrics (“Don’t follow leaders for whom you are lifestock / Pull out now to prevent the shellshock / Cluelessness is bliss of the mindless herd / Set yourself aside and feast on your hate”). Besides, although it’s less progressive than the opening track, it still presents intricate passages and lots of tempo changes.

A Lucid Mind, which leans towards cleaner Progressive Metal despite the growling vocals by Leo, offers us calm and relaxing passages focusing on Thomas’ clean voice and an embracing atmosphere to soothe our souls, while the other pieces of the song are an ode to madness and freedom; followed by Disillusion Strikes, where the band gets back to a more direct sounding, a modern Death Metal tune with hints of the craziness generated by bands such as Devin Townsend, turning it into one of the top moments of the album. The title-track, Nocturnal Escape, starts in some kind of “cosmic” way due to its synths, before switching to Progressive Metal enhanced by Leo’s devilish growls while Thomas declaims his vocal lines, developing then an interesting storyline to be followed attentively throughout the entire song as you can see in its lyrics (“The pain feels good the pain feels right / This cleansing torture drives me through the night / I follow this path and come to me / With this aquired taste in human tragedy”). A similar situation is found in Screaming Heart, with yet another melancholic intro that grows in sorrow and darkness until it becomes a Progressive Dark/Doom Metal exhibit. Not only it feels like two or three songs in one, but the strong focus on riffs and solos were clearly done on purpose by Leo to enhance the song’s punch.

Nocturnal Escape - logoWhat initially seems to flirt with Alternative Rock and modern Hard Rock turns into a Black Metal feast with a desperate ambience that will invade your mind in Gaia’s Demise, with its funereal riff and the well-balanced duo of harsh and clean vocals leading this progressive tune through its acoustic passages and mesmerizing rhythm. And what if Deep Purple, Devin Townsend and Arch Enemy got together for a jam session? The result would probably resemble the thrilling tune entitled Call To Humanity, which keeps rolling at full speed fueled by its awe-inspiring guitar riffs and solos. It’s indeed an amazing mix of Speed and Death Metal with huge dosages of progressiveness and feeling to close the album on a high note, and in my humble opinion it’s the best tune of the album by far. In addition, pay close attention to the song’s special guests Paul Perlberg, Joscha Radaj (Zerfetzer, Musikalischer Gesundheitsdienst), Tobias Ruf (Disgusting Perversion), Julian Gruber (Running Death) and Simon Bihlmayer (Running Death), as they add some crazy amount of wickedness to the final result.

You can get more details on Nocturnal Escape at their official Facebook page, as well as purchase their debut album through BandCamp. This is a great opportunity for fans of progressive and aggressive music to witness the inception and rise of a talented metal act from Germany who are not afraid of experimenting and adding different layers of complexity to their compositions, creating a unique sounding that, as aforementioned, will beautifully reach to your heart and definitely make you bang your metal head.

Best moments of the album: Age Of Atrocity, Disillusion Strikes and Call To Humanity.

Worst moments of the album: Nocturnal Escape.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. War Of Beliefs 7:37
2. Age Of Atrocity 5:23
3. A Lucid Mind 6:52
4. Disillusion Strikes 4:34
5. Nocturnal Escape 7:01
6. Screaming Heart 4:19
7. Gaia’s Demise 6:36
8. Call To Humanity 6:31

Band members
Leo Bergmann – harsh vocals, guitars, keyboards, drum programming
Thomas Zimmermann – clean vocals
Klaus Bergmann – bass

Guest musicians
Paul Perlberg – vocals on “Call To Humanity”
Joscha Radaj – keyboards on “Call To Humanity”
Tobias Ruf – second guitar solo on “Call To Humanity”
Julian Gruber – fourth guitar solo on “Call To Humanity”
Simon Bihlmayer – sixth guitar solo on “Call To Humanity”

Album Review – Disgusting Perversion / Morbid Obsessions EP (2015)

Let the bloodbath begin and spread all over Bavaria and the rest of the world with the debut album by this up-and-coming old school Death Metal band.

Rating5

Disgusting Perversion - Morbid ObsessionsIf there’s a word that can be used to describe the music found in Morbid Obsessions, the debut EP by German Death Metal band Disgusting Perversion, that would definitely be “stampede”. However, instead of a wild rush of ordinary animals, what we have here is a frantic onslaught by a horde of Teutonic death metallers that will crush your body and soul with their raw old school vibration. What else can you ask for in a Death Metal album, right? Well, I guess the old school album art in Morbid Obsessions can already provide you a trustworthy preview of what you’ll find when you start your listen at the album.

Hailing from the city of Kaufbeuren (about 90km from Munich), in the Free State of Bavaria, Germany, this brand new four-piece group will surely please fans of the combination of brutality and melody made famous by names like Death, Obituary, Cannibal Corpse and so on. Not even the fact that the drums are programmed, instead of having a drummer of flesh and blood with them, makes the the album sound less organic or visceral, which in my humble opinion is the most important attribute we should expect from any type of extreme music. In other words, you have to feel the blood dripping from authentic Death Metal, and Disgusting Perversion unquestionably provide the listener that morbid but awesome perception.

War Annihilation, as its own name indicates, kicks off the album sending a clear message from the band: they play brutal Death Metal, spreading nothing but gore and violence through their path of ruination. Moreover, the riffs by guitarists Claus Schubert and Tobias Ruf are tailored for fans of renowned musicians like Chuck Schuldiner and James Murphy, and as both Claus and Tobias simply love Death, I’m pretty sure this was exactly how they wanted their guitars to sound like. In the raging Bloodbath, lead singer Stefan Bauer vociferates the lyrics as if he was possessed by an evil entity, inspired by the demonic voices of bands such as Obituary and Morbid Angel, while bassist Klaus Bergmann and his low-tuned weapon provide the listener some bestial notes. It’s that type of slow but extremely heavy sounding perfect for headbanging, enhanced by the addition of some excerpts of the fastest savagery you can find in music.

Disgusting PerversionSounding as another tribute to old school Extreme Metal, the good Flying Nightmare shows what happens when Disgusting Perversion accelerate the rhythm, turning their music into a true “nightmare” for the faint-hearted. Besides, its traditional guitar solo helps improve the balance between sheer massacre and its strong melodic lines. Then we have the most melodic of all tunes, entitled House Of The Butcher, which is not as barbaric as the previous songs and has a huge focus on the guitar lines by Claus and Tobias. The vocals by Stefan exhale pure evil as expected, and with a name like that you can have a good idea of how gruesome its lyrics are.

The title-track, Morbid Obsessions, is a great display of straightforward Death Metal, fuckin’ heavy and merciless as hell, with highlights to the dark and low growls by Stefan and the crisp guitar solos by Claus and Tobias; followed by Disgusting Perversion, the song that takes the band’s name, and let me tell you that there couldn’t be a more suitable song to carry their flag. The music is disgusting, atrocious and barbaric, reminding me of old school Sepultura with wicked vocals, leaving the listener avid for more of the band’s cruelty.

To sum up, Morbid Obsessions is a very cohesive and full-bodied work for what is “just” an EP by those promising Bavarian death metallers, who are craving for your blood at their Facebook page. And don’t forget to visit the Winterwolf Records page on eBay, where you can purchase the album. Let the bloodbath begin and spread all over Bavaria and the rest of the world with Morbid Obsessions, the debut album by a band that, if they keep working hard and remain loyal to their foundations, has a bright future ahead of them.

Best moments of the album: Bloodbath and Disgusting Perversion.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Winterwolf Records

Track listing
1. War Annihilation 4:05
2. Bloodbath 6:10
3. Flying Nightmare 4:22
4. House Of The Butcher 5:32
5. Morbid Obsessions 5:35
6. Disgusting Perversion 5:45

Band members
Stefan Bauer – vocals
Claus Schubert – guitars
Tobias Ruf – guitars, drums programming
Klaus Bergmann – bass