The Key was the first full-length studio album from Florida progressive death metal band, Nocturnus. It was released on Earache Records in 1990 and was followed by Thresholds two years later.
The album, Nocturnus's debut, is a concept album centered on an Occult (the influence of drummer/vocalist Mike Browning) meets sci-fi (influenced by guitarist Mike Davis) theme. The story of the album follows a cyborg who goes back in time to the year 0 B.C. which eventually leads to the destruction of Christianity (highlighted by the controversial track "Destroying the Manger") and the creation of a modern empire.
In addition to their unusual lyrical content, the band employed the use of keyboards which was virtually unheard of at the time in the broader genre of death metal. The keyboards were generally used for song intros and more atmospheric purposes, however, and most of the album was based upon a more conventional guitar and drums approach.
Kam Lee of Massacre provided backing vocals.
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