Our boisterous and loud-mouthed town crier has gathered you all here today, to this ramshackle town square, for two reasons. The first--and the more significant, in a sense--is to draw your attention to a forthcoming compilation created by the recently birth’d Hope Vs. Hate. Said record label have announced their first charity compilation, Hope In The Face Of Fear, proceeds of which will go to benefit and support the excellent work done by Humanity Gives.
It all goes to a great cause, which would be exciting enough...but get a load of this roster. Bull Of Apis Bull Of Bronze, Neckbeard Deathcamp, Sacred Son, Vvishfield, Heretoir, Underdark, Order Of The Wolf, Christwvrks, Sadness, No Point In Living, Advent Varic, Goblinsmoker, Pessimista, Unreqvited, Allfather, Putrescine and Kaddish all, so it has been uttered, make appearances. Music, in other words, to my ears. If that wasn’t exciting enough, the compilation announcement was heralded by another band of note--Necropanther. Which brings me to the second reason we are here--to review this icy-fresh new single, recently premiered by the excellent folks over at Astral Noize.
Necropanther are a goddamn eclectic lot, which is the reason I love ‘em so much--besides the fact, of course, that their last two albums ended up on both 2018 and 2019’s Albums of the Year Lists here at the Sleeping Village. While nominally standing proud under the “blackened thrash” banner, there isn’t really a genre under the metal sun that they won’t touch, as demonstrated particularly well by their latest, The Doomed City. Part of this ability to meld, merge, and reach beyond the scope of genre boundaries is a willingness to devote the time between LP’s to compose on individualistic terms. In their words: “If you've been following the Necropanther bouncing ball, you know that they are having fun releasing music written exclusively by one band member between their full album releases. Last year they did Oppression by bassist Marcus Corich. It was drummer Haakon Sjogren's turn.”
The result? A black metal track that, frankly, exists far beyond the typical scope of Necropanther. Again, in the band’s words: "As a Norwegian, [Haakon] feels deeply the rift in the metal community in regard to fascism/nazi activity, etc. He wanted to write something to denounce this. While Necropanther isn't a 'political' band lyrically, everyone in the band espouses the sentiments in the song and wanted to put the statement out there. Haakon decided he just wanted to just release a single, sung in his native tongue, and felt the message would have an even stronger impact if delivered in a seething black metal vehicle. Thus became “Et Unyttig Liv (An Unnecessary Life).”
Long story short: it's a damn fine track, and a direction I am excited to have witnessed these genre-benders actively seek out. While clearly conceived from a much different approach, "Et Unyttig Liv" maintains the trademark bite and throttling aggression we've come to expect--perhaps even more so. Maybe it's just by benefit of the atmosphere and distinctly "black metal" production, but to my ears the vocals are particularly on edge, icy and hardened by a certain frostbitten atmosphere. This is most evident in the purely acappella outro, but remains a chilly constant throughout. The guitar tone feels similarly cold and unforgiving, in contrast to the warm frictitious vibe garnered from their more overtly thrashy numbers. While this 6+ minute track offers much across the breadth, I particularly enjoy the midway point. Here, things slow down to a near-doom tempo, before ratcheting back up into that bestial back end, which welcomes earmwormy melodics back into the fold. The chorus itself is oddly comforting when it hits--raging and vitriolic by nature of its content, but also soothingly familiar in its simplicity. All told? "Et Unyttig Liv" is a yet another strong outing from Necropanther, and a very promising start for a compilation that, judging from its component parts, can hardly help but be a knockout.
Check out the track at Astral Noize...and keep you eyes out for that Hope Vs. Hate compilation!
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!