Death To All
posted on 6/2009 By:
Necrophobic have gotten kind of a raw deal over the years. Though this Stockholm death/black unit formed way the fuck back in 1989—concurrently with Dissection and before Immortal, Emperor, Naglfar, Enslaved and countless others—they’ve spent their long career languishing in relative obscurity. And not for lack of trying, either. Necrophobic are about as reliable as metal bands get; they’ve been ferociously pursuing more or less the same beefed-up BM sound since their inception (albeit with gradually less death metal influence over the years). Their example goes to show that preemption isn’t a guarantor of popularity, even in the authenticity-obsessed world of black metal.
Though I suspect that Necrophobic doesn’t care all that much about drawing in hordes of new fans. Death to All marks the band’s seventh studio foray, and it’s frankly more of the same from these lifers. “Celebration of the Goat” kicks off eight fairly compositions laden with slowish blastbeats, tremolo-picked Slayeresque melodies, raspy hollering and more Satanic grandstanding than you can shake a spiked gauntlet at. Necrophobic’s sound is firmly rooted in riffy black metal—they’re a death metal hybrid in the same too-heavy-to-be-grym sense that very early Morbid Angel or Sepultura were, but spruced up with a thick modern production. Like Hrimthursum before it, this latest outing makes use of more black metal tropes, like the distant choral keyboards on "For Those who Stayed Satanic," and relies less on growling Swede-death low end.
Death to All’s greatest strength is probably its immediacy. Though Necrophobic don’t exactly have a lot of tricks up their sleeves, the tunes they’ve crafted here are simultaneously aggressive and instantly enjoyable. Some of this album’s finer moments, like the unexpected Dismemberish solo break in “Revelation 666” and the whirlwind guitar harmony from the epic title track, will set all but the most jaded head to banging away on the very first listen.
Simultaneously, though, that immediacy constitutes Death to All’s biggest problem. This material is fun right off the bat, but it doesn’t offer a lot on repeated listens—you can pick up on this disc’s meatiest bits right away, so where’s the incentive to come back? This problem is endemic to Necrophobic’s catalog—their albums are always enjoyable, but rarely do they have much in the way of legs. Perhaps that’s what’s kept these guys from garnering the acclaim of a Dissection or Emperor. Regardless, those in search of a straight-to-the-point dose of polished, pissed-off BM can once again rely on Necrophobic to deliver the goods.
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