NECROPHOBIC - Mark Of The Necrogram

February 27, 2018, 8 months ago

(Century Media)

Mark Gromen

Rating: 8.5

review black death necrophobic

NECROPHOBIC - Mark Of The Necrogram

Few contemporary acts can write face ripping blacked death metal with such a strong melodic underpinning. On the current platter, the long running Swedes are aided by several member changes, chief among them, the return of singer Anders Strokirk (after 24 years!) and the recruitment of guitar tandem: Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergebäck, from the more traditional minded Black Trip (now Vojd). An assortment of otherworldly topics, mostly funeral and occult, but the built on a bedrock rhythm, the lyrics to "Tsar Bomba" surround the detonation of a 1961 Soviet hydrogen bomb test, the largest explosion by mankind (yet), complete with its echoing sing-along gang chorus. The band says, "In the old days, death metal bands used to pile on riffs, one after the other. Making great, but not logical music. We do the opposite. The recipe of verse—bridge—verse—pre-chorus—chorus— bridge—solo—pre-chorus—double chorus is very effective. No matter what’s trendy at the moment. No matter how the winds blow. Our music has stayed the same, more or less, we write the music we want to listen to ourselves.”

Like a blast furnace, the savage title track spews molten lava out of the gate, not an ounce of subtlety as a swirl of guitars quickly settles into a headbanging groove reminiscent of early Slayer. Perhaps that's why the band characterizes themselves as "Always been influenced by bands that did more than just stood on stage and looked at their instruments and played every single note perfectly. We are more into giving something more than the music when we play live. We are not a 100% black metal band. We also have death metal roots, from the years we grew up, when death metal was new, but as you can see, we have nothing in common with many of the death metal bands. While death metal bands seem to dress down for their shows, we feel that attitudes and outfits shall go together, just like our heroes of the 80’s wore studs and leather in the very first wave of black metal." As the locomotive chug threatens to derail, a swath of guitar unwinds before it all ends in grand crescendo that segues into the sedately ethereal intro of "Odium Caecum". It too, eventually turns dark, but with plenty of room for six-string exploration.

Only a little refinement in the start-to-finish smash mouth "Lamashtu", which gradually fades outs. After the fusion spawning "Sacrosanct", the low boiling "Pesta" (debuted live, on the 70,000 Tons cruise) is the antithesis: a wide stylistic changeling driven by grinding bass, with Sumerian chant and Strokirk's pained throat. "Requiem For A Dying Sun" has a brief hint of Psycho shower scene inspired keyboards within its vocal cord shredding, belabored heaviness. If there is a by-the-numbers inclusion, it's "Crown Of Horns", but the brutalizing guitars separate it from 99% of their contemporaries. The the opening title track, a verbose entitled "From The Great Above To The Great Below" rides a vitriolic dual guitar onslaught to new heights. The concluding "UndergÜngen" soundscape, rich with bass notes and howling wind effect, harkens to Bathory. Succumb to the filth and powerful grandness of Necrophobic!


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