NOCTURNUS就领先于所有死亡金属乐队，在死亡金属音乐中加入了大量的键盘，从而影响了相当一批乐队。乐队成立于1987年的佛罗里达Tampa湾，从1988年他们发行了4首歌的小样The Science Of Horror的那一刻，他们就创造了一种具有科幻气质的恐怖死亡金属。正是这张与众不同的小样吸引了Earache唱片公司的注意，公司决定与NOCTURNUS签约并将他们推向世界。那时的乐队成员是吉他手Sean McNenney和Mike Davis，键盘手Louis Panzer，贝司手Jeff Estes，鼓手兼主唱Mike Browning。
If I listened to Death Metal for just guitar-playing, I wouldn't need another album! I would just play this all day.
NOCTURNUS were pioneers in the fact that they were the first Death Metal-band to use keyboards fulltime in their sound. They were also one of the first to use a pentagram in their logo. These are useful facts to know if you're ever on "Jeopardy". But moving on, "The Key" is considered by most to be their best album to date. I can now see why, but with an album like this, one must attempt to transport thyself to the year 1990 when Death Metal was just in its infancy in order to appreciate its greatness. Hearing this today, the only thing I can think to say good about the album is "DAMN, that's some great guitar playing!"
Every song on "The Key" has guitar-solos aplenty, with shredding that would make any Yngwie-worshipper go apeshit. The keyboards also add a nice atmospheric quality to the riffs, but not really in the Black Metal-sense. They are mostly in the background, leaving the guitars rightfully in the forefront, where they belong. The drumming is awful. I shudder to think how great this album would've been with a good drummer! But the guitars easily make up for it, EASILY! Why do you think Trey from MORBID ANGEL is always wearing NOCTURNUS t-shirts in all his photos? (hint: see "The Key")
While I had to order this album directly from Earache, it has just been re-issued, so if you see it at your local music outlet, give it a try ONLY IF you like your Death Metal laden with technicality and ambitious guitar-playing.
01. Lake of Fire
02. Standing in Blood
03. Visions from Beyond the Grave
05. Undead Journey
06. Before Christ / After Death
07. Andromeda Strain
08. Droid Sector
09. Destroying the Manger
10. Empire of the Sands