A tad tardy for a review, perhaps, but as a late-in-the-year discovery, The Necromancers’ self-titled debut is worth the mention. But first: some poetic waxing.
Victims of hypothermia encounter a stage immediately before death where nerve damage makes them feel paradoxically warm--so warm that they remove clothing & allow themselves to succumb to the inevitable. At risk of sounding melodramatic, such is the comfort one finds in the gloomy embrace of doom’s inhospitable atmosphere. Despite the down-tuned drone, the lyrics evoking despair, & the general pea-soup atmosphere, doom lends a warm-and-cuddly feeling that other genres under the umbrella of ‘extreme metal’ typically lack. In Servant’s of the Salem Girl’s best moments (of which there are many), The Necromancers offer this full embrace.
This album makes a distinct break from the doom hallmark of pervasive fuzziness. The intro to Beyond the Black Marble House, for example, presents a freshly scrubbed guitar that elegantly rises above the low end. The bass is similarly void of filth, sounding crisp & deliberate. Drone this is not, but it still sounds irrevocably like doom. Lucifer’s Kin evokes Sabbath’s Children of the Grave, plain & simple, but with this production, it sounds anything but derivative.
Salem Girl Part I is a beast, to be sure, one of my 2017 Songs of the Year. Here, Tom Corniere-David’s ability to turn the aggression in his voice on & off with the flip of a switch is a supremely endearing quality--I find myself leaning into choruses, anticipating the moment sweetly crooned vocals become grim and mean. Side B is a small letdown compared to the brilliance of the first few tracks, with Salem Girl pt. II providing more of a one-armed hug than the real deal. Otherwise, The Necromancers' atmosphere will draw you in. Let it happen.
The Necromancers – Servants of the Salem Girl was released August 2017 from Ripple Music
A certain groggy-eyed, highfalutin' peasantry