Atmospheric Metal - United States

Nocturnus Band

The reformation of Nocturnus is one of those reformations that counts.

The band reformed because they had something to say, not to follow the trend like so many Heavy Metal bands surfing on the “back to the 80s” wave.

Because all their peer from the technical death Metal scene of the early 90s bit the dust : Cynic, Pestilence, Atheist…

Because once again, Nocturnus are one step ahead of the best.

They radically changed the extreme metal scene 10 years ago by adding keyboards to their music.

Ethereal Tomb is the next step…

Nocturnus have been creating horror-inspiring death metal since their 1988 release of The Science of Horror, a four-song demo, which let to international acclaim and a contract with Earache Records. Membership solidified into Sean Mc Nenney and Mike Davis on guitars, Louis Panzer on keyboards, Jeff Estes on bass and Mike Browning on drums and vocals.

Their first album, The Key, was a concept album, telling a story of a futuristic cyborg forced to flee to 0BC and culminating with the destruction of Christianity in favor of a modern empire. This release in late 1989 caused an immediate stir in the death metal community as the first band of this type to incorporate keyboards full time into every song. The blinding guitar work, sci-fi keyboards and concepts set the band apart from the masses. The public responded very well, and the album sold over 50.000 copies worldwide!

A European tour followed in 1991 with Bolt Thrower and Nocturnus continued to stun and amaze with reproductions of the technical songs on The Key. That spring, the band toured the US with Napalm Death and Godflesh on the Grindcrusher tour.

After these two tours, Nocturnus settled in and recorded their next release, Thresholds. The addition of Dan Izzo as lead vocalist brought a better stage presence to the band. This album was even more heavily laced with sci-fi and adventure type landscapes. During this time Nocturnus picked up their 4th bass player, Emo Mowery, who came on board in time for the European Thresholds tour, which took place in 1991 with Confessor.

Hereafter, the group and Mike Browning parted ways. The band continued on after bringing in James Marcinek on drums and recorded the 7″ record with Possess the Priest and Mummified. Shortly after this, the band split up.

Fast-forward to 5 years later… the original members Louis Panzer, Sean McNenney and Mike Davis decide to resurrect the Nocturnus phenomenon. Emo returns and takes the vocals and the third drummer, Rick Bizzaro, completes the line up. The unmistakable sounds of Sean and Mike return, as do the haunting keys of Louis. The addition of Rick has brought about a progressive edge to the material. Emo produces the most convincing vocals yet from anyone holding down this job in the band. The new material contained in Ethereal Tomb continues to relate sci-fi stories and also brings about a look into insanity and fear. The emphasis by the members on this release is on the overall effect of the song. Somewhat progressive, the music pounds its point home on song after song. Ethereal Tomb proves that Nocturnus is not through yet with delivery of imaginative concepts paired with crushing rhythms and spine numbing vocals.


  • Mike Davis : Lead Guitar
  • Sean McNenney : Lead Guitar
  • Emo Mowery : Bass/Vocals

This band is no longer active on Season of Mist.