We cared about nothing but the metal, nothing else mattered. We were not at all trendy and always seemed to go against the grain. The thing that pissed us off the most was that it seemed like people could see our talent as musicians but wondered why we were not doing what everyone else was. To us, that defeated the purpose of the band. We wanted to baffle people with our technical metal, and we did, but more often than not that was overlooked and all people cared about was that we were fast.
Speed was a huge factor for Nokturnel. We were all about it, but the way people focused on that made me think we should have just played grind. I will admit we wanted the things successful bands had. Killer equipment, a good label and opportunities to tour but instead of becoming another clone band to get there we chose to make the best of things and agreed to basically have cash out of pocket to keep us doing what we loved the most, and that was playing metal.
Almost any time we were promised anything, those promises were worth nothing. We learned that early on and honestly I still hear bands pissing and moaning about it today. For people who imagine the average band making good money because they see them on the covers of magazines and whatnot think again. There's a few who I know do very well but the majority of bands struggle.
Running my Distro Nokturnel Eclipse put me in touch with the business side of the music world and for metal it is pretty pathetic. I am speaking about the US, I won't comment on things overseas as that is a very different story but here bands who play extreme forms of metal do not sell half as many records as you think. I wish I knew this back in the early 90s when the original line up was going strong. We would not have done things much differently but if anything we may have been even more fucked up in the sense that in our demented minds we figured people would not have such a hard time understanding where we were coming from musically. Since I can only fit so much on this site I will summarize the history and let you all know when the official Nokturnel web site is up and running.
That will be much more detailed. I have done a lot since 1983 and figuring out what year I did this and that is going to take me a while to get straight. For now let me begin like this. My first band Savage Death hailed from Rutherford NJ. We listened to what was the heaviest metal at the time.
Venom, Voi Vod, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Exodus, Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Possessed, Celtic Frost, Sacrifice and Bathory to name a few. We were in high school. I was the oldest member of the band. We thought we had potential and actually got a lot of attention back in the day.
Imagine a scene with only a few record labels signing underground bands and the best one, Combat Records bringing you into their main office for a meeting on signing you. We came oh so close, but many things in that year stole our chances and the label dropped many bands instead of signing them. Drummer Eric Young who played on the second Savage Death demo and all the early Nokturnel demos as well as the Nothing But Hatred record and I remained in contact. We'd get together and play some Savage Death songs and played hundreds of covers of all our favorite bands and we could read each other practically telepathically.
Playing metal, and fucking killing it was effortless for us. We'd get a buzz on and let it rip. Those were good times but I wanted to continue Savage Death, which was absolutely satanic.....and Eric was sick of participating in a band that focused so much on it. After some time off Eric contacted me and wanted me to see if I liked playing with two other guys he'd met.
I immediately so no way and went off on a Savage Death comeback rant. He would not go for that so I agreed to come jam and this was my introduction to Martin O'Connor who was the bass player for everything Nokturnel did other than Fury Unleashed. There was another guitar player there. He was a 3 part nightmare.
Number one....80s hair. Number two...the same shitty equipment the shitty guitar player from Savage Death had. Number 3...god awful player. As soon as he left the room for the first time I told Eric I would not even consider jamming with him but fuckin A, Marty was damn good. Either at that very one hour practice or the next we had already begun working on songs that came together as if we had been together for years.
The connection between Eric and I was no surprise but Marty held his own without any effort. I think we played our first show before we had recorded anything and was it with Ripping Corpse and 2 bands that sucked????? Jesus Christ I feel old.......anyway we were well received by the small crowd and we started to get serious. As serious as 3 metal retards could be anyway. We had to deal with the fact Marty and I lived 3 hours away from each other and Eric was a little over an hour away from either of us.
Money was always a factor, and the fact we couldn't rehearse much should have been a downfall but it wasn't. We were so fucking good we'd go weeks without playing at all and do a show and fucking kill! Bands who knew our situation were shocked. They'd say they practice several days a week and play sloppier than us. We were despised by some and worshipped by a few.
We were what we were and all music created by us was not composed in some thinking mans metal bullshit theory type writing. We naturally spewed out all this chaos but since it was not down tuned but down to D and many riffs were not stuck on the low E string we came off more thrashy than death metal. Since that made no difference to us we wrote many songs that I look back at now and even though I wrote tons of the shit.....I can not believe we used to play it. I puke ..
by numbers guitar solos that fags learned from their instructional videos! Eat shit! I am guilty of minimalizing the bass work on Fury Unleashed but the early days with Marty was so completely out there and obvious in its presence it just added another crazy dimension to the music. We always felt that Erics drumming was lost to our shit production. In the studio, listening to him play with no other instruments sounding was astounding. I pushed that guy to the limit and i am sure the biggest regret we have is looking back at how much better the recordings would have been if we had mixed them properly....mostly for the sake of the buried drums.
So the demo days and mega shows era begins. demo 1 You Don't Stand a Chance live in the studio demo 4 tracks done in 4 hours. Another War No Second Chance Into the Vortex My Hell demo 2 Welcome to New Jersey 5 tracks, rushed through it and started sending people the rough mix. We were on the verge of getting signed so we blew it off thinking we'd record everything again. Didn't quite work out, more on that later Final Punishment Target Planet Revenge of the Corpse Welcome to New Jersey My Hell demo 3 Give This to Anyone and You're Dead demo. Made for industry peoples ears only in an attempt to get another record contract.
Again this didn't work out. It ended up in circulation and was traded heavily. Human Termites Global Suicide Sliding Down the Razor After demo 2 we ended up negotiating with JL America Records. It went something like this. We got the demo, wow it is killer. "Thanks, we're ready to record now" We wanna sign you! "Cool, we're ready to record now" Well to start we want to use the Welcome to NJ demo for some of it. "We want to rerecord all that material and write some more" No...we'll give you a small budget and want a full length record, that's about all we can offer "OK, we'll do it After looking at a one page contract for about 18 seconds I signed the dotted line as did the other guys and Nothing But Hatred was born. Luckily I have a copy sitting here so I can recall the track listing Human Termite [should have said TermiteS!] No Second Chance Sliding Down the Razor Global Suicide Skonopolator My Hell Final Punishment Target Planet Revenge of the Corpse Welcome To New Jersey Poltergeist The record came out and had mixed reviews. We played many shows in NJ and got out of state once in a while.
By this time we had made a lot of friends in the underground and were welcome on many tour busses and considered regulars at many parties. Those were good times. However since our music was never trendy the labels that did say they loved the band were straight up about telling us they could not see the band being a sure thing as far as going over big and making them any money. God awful things began to happen.
One of them was grunge, and that shit music just dominated and genres of metal would slip in and out of popularity yet no one would admit that this was all due to trends. I think that shitty Black Metallica record also did a lot of damage fooling people into thinking they were listening to heavy music... the old bands that were the shit in the mid 80s were now out of fashion and many turned their backs on them. We were still enjoying playing but the lack of support was disheartening.
I always appreciated fan mail of any sort or magazine reviews but as far as people coming to shows.....it was just barely worth the effort. Eventually Marty and Eric got fed up and walked. This was around the time I was talking with Morpheus Descends about playing for them, and somewhere in between I helped Ripping Corpse by playing bass for them for 7 shows. More headaches and bullshit were some how rewarded.....or as I'd later think punished by ending up in Incantation.
John Macentee was from NJ and was familiar with Savage Death which he seemed more impressed by than Nokturnel but I guess he heard my shit done with Morpheus and capitalized on my downtime. I was supposed to fill in as front man for 2 weeks on a tour and ended up in the band for more like 2 years? I have many good memories of good times in every band i played with but to me, I will forever be Nokturnel. I had to leave Savage Death behind and really never should have.....but what came after that was the incarnation of the band I am most proud of. After being fired from Incantation I got married, and later we became parents.
My lovely wife Eloisa and I are both metalheads and we went to practically every metal show worth seeing and still do to this day. I would run into people who'd have good things to say about my music and receive a warm welcome from many friends who come through town on tour. Finally, I began to really feel the emptiness of not playing and I busted out the 29 fret custom Washburn that I was known for and began writing the long awaited follow up to Nothing But Hatred, Fury Unleashed. My Distro was doing fairly well and I thought it was time to start a record label with the first release being my own band. I soon learned that it was going to mean taking in tons of shit on trade and I felt a lot of things people were offering me would never sell.
I was right as some of that shit is still sitting here collecting dust. However I have a record I absolutely needed to create and it came out very close to the way I had hoped it would. I realized the original line up was so hell bent on writing songs that sounded completely different from anything else out there that we never really let the bands that influenced us show through in our writing. I also saw many average guitar players getting praise for their mediocre soloing.
I put this and many other things into consideration as I composed Fury. I put the most melodic solo I ever recorded on track one, no solo in track two, and total chaos on track three and from there it just went nuts. I was thinking of Possessed, Kreator, Sacrifice, Voi Vod and the glory days of the bands who made metal what it is today. I wanted the drums to be ferocious but chose to use an extremely fast drummer who did a great job but know this people.
A few of the scenes fastest drummers are friends of mine and I could have hired them but I wanted a record I could reproduce live easily and felt using any of them would possibly hurt if I could not get a steady drummer that fast in the future. I also never use any guitar effects and avoid double tracking and harmonies. Another thing I do on occasion is leave some imperfections.....mostly in the solos and on my vocals. If my voice cracks, fuck it, it's metal.
If a solo slops up for a moment its because I was going off and letting it rip. I can tell you it was not a failed attempt trying to be some fucking smoothie who is imagining he is some guitar hero. My intention is to brutalize! Not too fucking sway you with some abundance of talent. I wanted people to say shit like that guy just destroyed the guitar and often they did. The guys who helped me record Fury did a great job.
The drummer was not well rehearsed at all and we were definitely worried we might have been rushing it but we went for it. Day one in the studio amounted to failure, nothing recorded but mistakes. Day two was a victory. Many songs completed and spirits were high.
We started really killing the songs. When the drum and bass tracks were done I went into to the studio a few more times and completed the record. The bass playing is tight and well executed, a job well done but it is not in the vein of Martins style. I decided it was time to move on and that whoever would try and play exactly like Eric and Martin would probably just fail so the drumming is much more straight forward and the bass mimics the guitar.
Fury is something that has bits and pieces I had never used from the 90s all the way into brand new material I wrote starting around the year 2000. There's a tiny bit of 80s in there too and this combination spawned the songs I am very proud of. Legend of the Wolven Taking Hate to the Grave Food Chain I Remain Faithless Visions of the Haunted Realms of Possesion Forcefed Fear Immortal Destroyer Drums handled by Tophetarath from Fog, Hordes of the Lunar Eclipse Bass Lee Ribera Death Of Millions Tom Stevens composed all music and lyrics, vocals, guitars I am currently looking for a drummer and am well into writing a new record. I will be posting music from all bands I have played with on here in the near future. 24 years in the underground and counting.
I will have 20 times more info on the official Nokturnel web site. I hope to have more news about the new record soon. Thanks for visiting this site and stay metal! Tom Stevens Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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