October 1, 1990 - 2020: 30 years of: The Key.
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Tampa - 1990 - Deathmetal: a combination that speaks volume on a deadly musical genre armed with slaughtering sounds. Extremes have been pushed into overdrive by local deathbangers DEATH, MASSACRE, OBITUARY, MORBID ANGEL, DEICIDE and the unholy NOCTURNUS. Original drummer and singer for the unknown-version of MORBID ANGEL, main nocturnal-man Mike Browning wanted more fiction and actual sci-fi into his new incarnation of evil.
One important distinctive-point this band has, was a full-time keyboard-player in their ranks. It is accepted to have some keyboard-enhancements into one's metal album, but a permanent member was unheard of, especially in the deathmetal field. This unique signature made them totally different, at a time where deathmetal and grindcore were in their expansion stages. Welcome into the arena, the futuristic NOCTURNUS !
Jump head first into the vortex of the "Lake Of Fire", where the YES-influenced keys sets the mood and later explodes into a raging deathmetal first-row mosh. Both "Standing In Blood" and "Visions From Beyond The Grave" shakes the ground with it's intricate riffing and the lead-guitar alchemy is perfect, just like having EXODUS's H-Team on leads, on every track.
Time-travel into history's past, reach Point Zero search and kill to prevent holiness by "Destroying The Manger". Eerie keyboards, dazzling solos and the massive deathmetal tempo, an unseen mix light-years ahead of our time ...somewhere out there, Gustav Holst is proud.
The meticulously progressive "BC/AD" is another mid-paced trip deep into the fourth dimension, a gateway where the final destination is before Christ, after death. The album finishes with the Star Wars-like grandiose "Empire Of The Sands" ...Boba Fett's go-to track ?
Released on England's Earache Records, the trend-setting deathmetal-label at the time, The Key is an out-of-the-box view on extreme-metal and deathmetal-fusion approach. RUSH-like lyrics with horror-movie background soundtrack integration. The Key is a master-key to many greater musical explorations beyond the rock-format, unfortunately their way-to-far-ahead soundscapes of 1992's Threshold CD, along with the rapidly changing rock/metal landscape of the early 90s, sat NOCTURNUS aside.
On tour, they were packaged on the legendary Grindcrusher US 1990 Tour, along NAPALM DEATH and GODFLESH. Label-mates, fun times, but somewhat wrong partnership. Recently in 2019, after decades of reclusion, Mike Browning came back from his undead journey with a new incarnation of his original grim ideas with NOCTURNUS A.D. Their latest Paradox CD is the Act II from The Key.
In the meantime let's dig 30 years into the past, when this actual record was 30+ years into the future at the time.
Lake Of Fire = video
Rehearsal in 1990
Interview in 1990
Live in the UK in 1991
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