Two CDs arrived in the post, one from 1990, the other from 1993. The covers were simple and the back covers live shots. This had to be Thrash. Not just any old Thrash, proper genuine British Thrash.
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Nightlord could easily have been forgotten were it not for a recent gig that lead to the re-release of 'Approaching Thunder' and 'The Cult Of The Moon'. I threw the first CD into the player with excitement and there it was, pristine as the day it pressed... I could almost name the equipment, a Charvel Guitar, Marshall JCM800 and a Boss Distortion pedal. Wow, this IS how practically every band at that time sounded. Thin waspy guitars, shaky vocals and a dull thumping bass. THRASH!
The songs themselves are not like bay area, they are not blessed with timeless production values like Testament and they do not possess the precision of Megadeth. Instead they are, in some respects reminiscent of Sabbat, and basically balls out riffing at break neck speed - for its time.
The riffs are hectic, occasionally chuggy and sometimes the timing drifts. The vocals are honest. While digital recording and auto-tuning on vocals is common place now, in 1990 they were unheard of outside the big budget productions of Stock, Aitken and Waterman. What this means is that the recordings are in many ways live and that's how I played it, warts and all honest rendition of the songs.
On top of that, the guitar and bass sound are so well defined that you can hear them distinctly. There doesn't appear to be any double tracking to cover any mistakes.
The 1993 album sees a step up in recording quality with a slightly fatter guitar sound and a bass tone that would fit any Iron Maiden album. While the songs are good, there follows the inevitable frustration that Nightlord didn't continue with music and become a force in British Metal. Several of the songs have moments of brilliance that break away from Sabbat-like and show a technical voicing that would sound right on today's Thrash albums.
'Cult Of The Moon' features six bonus live tracks. True to form these are genuinely live recordings complete with mistakes. This is how a lot of bands actually sound. The quality varies in both the recording and playing and I could guess the reasons for both but I like to think it was down to wild nights and crazy times.
After the initial shock of the brutally honest recordings, I really got into these songs. There are moments of naivety as well as brilliance. They made me smile often enough that I didn't skip through them and move on to another CD.