Written by: Blackie Skulless
For all the hype that surrounded the latest Necrophobic release, I figured it was necessary to visit their albums that went beyond the first couple. Dawn Of The Damned dropped in October of last year, and this was a clear sign from the start that I’d been mistaken to sleep on the later material. For those unfamiliar, they’re a Swedish black/death metal band, widely looked at as pioneers of the style. Despite sticking to this since the early ‘90s, it certainly holds up.
What’s important for a veteran band is to know how to gradually move forward with the style without overdoing it or going the opposite and isolating yourself. Necrophobic have found that nice medium in their latest. Atmosphere plays a big part in this record, casting ferociously fast drum blasts for an entire gradient of noise to get around. This acts as a sturdy barrier to go with the contradicting riffing, as it’s mostly done with tremolos and flattened basslines. All of it together creates a thick and saturated foundation that’s heavier than a train car.
But that alone wouldn’t be enough, would it? The selling point is using this in a way that focuses. Higher, whiny, and sporadic notes act as a second rhythm section on and off to help the band stay above the surface. Since traditional death riffs are a bit more rare in their formula these days, this is necessary. The vocal style also adds a hint of melody here and there, despite being almost entirely done in the black metal style. “Tartarian Winds” is an incredible example because of how it dials back some of the intensity in exchange for a tighter and bouncier song structure. “Mirror Black” acts as its opposite, riding strictly on intensity the whole way.
The most impressive thing about Dawn Of The Damned is its ability to use repetition so effectively for an album that nears fifty minutes. Varying a technique like that across the board takes some serious work, and I’m here for all of it. Placement helps too, seeing that “The Return Of A Long Lost Soul“ being one of the more somber ones follows one of the most explosive. “The Shadows” captures everything so well, opening on a chaotic note with the solo before moving into a steadier verse. The bottom repetition-style is never lost.
The main point to gather is that they’re still going on harder and stronger than ever in 2020. It may not be The Nocturnal Silence, but I wouldn’t really want it to be. There’s certainly a mood required for something like this, but the songwriting exceeds expectations regarding what you can typically extract from a fruit of its type.
Necrophobic - Dawn Of The Damned was released Oct. 9th, 2020 from Century Media Records
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!