Sunday, June 12, 2005

Review: Nocturne - Guide to Extinction (2005)

Nocturne [ MySpace ]
Guide to Extinction
Triple X Records

Comprised of the duo of red-tressed vixen Lacey Conner and her former romantic interest Chris Telkes, Nocturne heralds their latest offering, Guide to Extinction, as an Industrial-Goth hybrid that incorporates a metallic edge - thus making the album a must-have for quite a large audience. Lacey's fantastic body and seductive eyes aside, the band does indeed have a certain appeal that caters to the metal community. Formed in Dallas in 1999, Nocturne has shared the stage with such industrial/metal stalwarts as Ministry, King Diamond, and Entombed. Where their previous two studio albums have stayed primarily in the Industro-Goth realm, Guide to Extinction at times wanders towards the metal genre and incorporates sounds reminiscent of the aforementioned Ministry, as well as Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson.

Yeah, you say, but is it any good? Taken as the sum of its parts, sure. Any fan of Industrial metal will immediately identify with the 13 tracks presented here, all lyrically crisscrossing subjects dealing with politics, sex, and self-examination. Lacey is a frontwoman that can sing, and indeed has plausible talent behind the mic whether she's screaming the lyrics or delivering them in a mellow, sugary-sweet coo (as on "Walk Away" - a highlight of the album). Specifically because of her ability to enunciate the lyrics in a genre that often synthesizes them to death, Nocturne distances themselves from their contemporaries and becomes an appealing entity. Chris fills the role of guitarist and programmer, and it is here that Nocturne suffers most. The riffs are indeed abrasive and draw heavily on modern metal influences (Mudvayne, Slipknot, etc.) for effect, but they are primarily simple and lacking ingenuity. Add to that the fact that they're overprocessed and there becomes the potential to lose metal fans. The drums are so elementary as to not even warrant mention, though there is an abundance of synth elements to make any Industrial fan blissfully full of hate.

Even with such distinctive pros and cons, Guide to Extinction remains an album that is catchy and primarily a good listen. Highlights for me include the leadoff track "Shallow", which is tailor-made for mainstream radio airplay. Also the most "metallic" of the songs on the album, the bottom-tuned riffs of "Shallow" are reminiscent of many songs heard on "rock radio" these days. My favorite part of the disc is the theme riff to "I Lie". It's groovy, catchy, and is the kind of thing Nocturne needs to continue to do in order to reach the next level of success. Relying more on guitar innovation and less on synth soundscapes will reel the metal fans in by the fistful.

Track Listing
2I Lie3:51
5Walk Away5:19
7Class War4:04
9Dirty Sanchez2:56
10No Way Out4:22
11Dead Man4:33
12Cocaine Sex4:51
13They'll Never Find Your Body2:57

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