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The Key

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Album Review

When Nocturnus was formed in the late '80s, the Tampa residents did something that was most unusual for a death metal/thrash outfit at the time — they employed a keyboardist (Louis Panzer). It wasn't unusual for mainstream metal and hard rock bands to use keyboards, but it was hardly typical in the underground world of death metal, thrash, and grindcore. Nocturnus, of course, didn't want to be typical, which is why The Key is among the more interesting death metal releases of 1990. The Key has all of death metal's trademarks: insanely fast tempos, demonic vocals (which are provided by Mike Browning), occult-minded lyrics, and a love of brute force and sledgehammer aggression. But the tempos do vary, and Panzer's keyboard harmonies set this CD apart from most of the death metal that was recorded in the late '80s and early '90s. This isn't to say that The Key isn't blistering; even though Nocturnus was more musical than many of its death metal contemporaries, no prisoners are taken on this bone-crushing classic.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Tampa, FL death metal band Nocturnus was formed in the late 1980s by singer/drummer Mike Browning, guitarists Mike Davis and Gino Marino, bassist Jeff Estes and keyboardist Louis Panzer. Following the demo Science of Horror, the group swapped Marino for guitarist Sean McNenney prior to recording its 1991 Earache label debut The Key. Vocalist Dan Izzo signed on for 1992's Thresholds, which also saw bassist Chris Anderson substituting for Estes; Anderson himself was replaced by bassist Emo Mowery for...
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The Key, Nocturnus
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