Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram

    Press play on Necrophobic’s Mark of the Necrogram (Century Media) and its crystal clear that these Swedish extreme metal pros are not in the business of fucking around. The title track explodes with no fancy introductions or orchestrations and grabs a hold of your scalp until you’ve surrendered any sense of control. Dramatic and sudden switches between Black and Death Metal ensue until we get some mild reprieve via Sebastian Ramstedt’s tasteful guitar solo. And that, ladies and gents, is the blueprint of the aural assault to come.

    If we learned anything from 2017 is that Death Metal is as strong as its ever been and it appears that Necrophobic want in on that action. And like many albums of last year’s deathly harvest, Mark of the Necrogram functions because the band’s creative fire is burning clean and bright while also leaning on veteran savvy and knowing when to practice editorial restraint. The less-is-more approach employed here is refreshing in an era when bands young and old get too caught up with unnecessary experimentation (Suicide Silence’s self-titled) or excessive track listings (Machine Head’s Catharsis).

    Take the melodic Death and Black Metal hybrid ‘Odium Caecum’ and notice how there isn’t a single note out of place. Every searing riff and blast beat cascade work in unison leading to some spicy lead guitar work. ‘Sacrosanct’ informs us of what would happen if we took Slayer’s fiery and melodic thrash riffs and raised them in Oslo instead of Huntington Beach. And while ‘Crown of Thorns’ stays primarily in Black Metal mode, it rips like something out of a vintage Bathory record. Also, much respect to drummer Joakim Sterner who’s been at the center of Necrophobic’s attack since their inception in 1989 and crams copious amounts of speedy double kicks on ‘Lamashtu’ and ‘Requiem for a Dying Sun.’

    The only bit that may come across as unnecessary is the instrumental ‘Undergången’ which ultimately closes the album and is done and over within less than 3 minutes.

    Other bands could afford to learn a thing or two from these seasoned Swedes.




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