In the aftermath of Obliterations’ Nekropsalms which blew a deep chasm into the stifling corpse of Oslo’s Death Metal scene, comes the newest contender for album of the year. And it’s only March. Two-thirds Obliteration, one-third Audiopain, welded together to produce the second full-length of a band that already turned heads with their previous release, Divinity of Death. With pockets full of references and minds ablaze in influence, it takes true mastery to be able to nod to greatness without stealing it’s shadow. To furnish your artillery in the fires of old, but sharpen them in the blacksmiths of a new age.
Trademark thrash-metal riffs have been thrown out the window here in favour of the more venomous aspects of the underground. With a full length under their belt, and respective albums from their other bands, the trio of Nekromantheon have far surpassed–with a sideproject of sorts- what most people will ever capture in their long, spiralling careers of defeat. Compact and brutal, yet hinting at greater things to come, the end of the road for a whole host of posers stops here.
While in equal measure it seems aghast and wanky to lavish praise on people who are merely doing what their stomachs spurn them onto, at the same time the amount of ballsy metal coming out of Norway has severely thinned since the glory days of Darkthrone, and is left now (almost exclusively) to the famished demons of Aura Noir.
The skies break open during the first slaughtered chords of “Cast Down to the Void”, and the next 31 minutes feel like an ancient battering ram ritualistically smashing your skull in with every passing second. Tormented sounds, wailing solo’s, guttural vocals and demonic drumming all meld together to force you into a state of mild shock. From the burning ablutions of “Blood Wisdom” to the ride cymbal and doubled voices on “Embrace The Oracle”, suffused with enough solo’s to please even the most ardent metal head. “Coven of the Minotaur” provides bare seconds of relief before powering into further demonstrations of pillaging. “The Usurper Command” blazes on like a wolf with it’s tail alight setting fire to all in it’s path. For me one the highlights of the album is the fist-in-the-air, “Rise, Vulcan Spectre”, sure to be a riot starter at live shows. “Twelve Depths of Hades” continues the assault with the return of the mighty ride two minutes in. Not into letting you off easily, “Raised by Dogs” bleeds it’s shrill guitar tones while the drums slowly rise to a crescendo and the whole song collapses into a blind storm of fury.
There is truth in the sentiment of youth and exuberance. Maturity brings perhaps more technical astuteness (like they need it?), but also the predilection to over-edit and compare. I find immense gratification in the simple straightforward punky, fuck-it aspect of just gunning from your vexation, hording up all the feelings that came to you first listening to Death or Sodom, then unleashing it in a torrent that doesn’t abate until long after the cd has stopped. To just accept that there is nothing truly original left. Draw from all your greatest idols. Play the fuck out of your instruments in dark practice rooms, and come up with this.
If these young renegades don’t take over the world pretty soon then we are all truly damned.