Sunday, February 18, 2018

favorite album released during the week of February, 18th-24th

Mark of the Necrogram
Century Media Records
23 February 2018
In my opinion, one important way that you can tell if a band is good is whether the music is strictly for the fans of a particular genre or not, or whether the music transcends the limits and is good enough for everyone in general, not just the obsessive collectors who must have every thrash or death doom or obscure NWOBHM or slam gore brutal album that they come across. Furthermore, if a band manages to gain fans who would not normally care about that specific genre, that’s even better.
Necrophobic is black metal. Wait a minute now. I understand what you’re thinking. “Oh, no, not another homemade poorly recorded album by some person in the middle of nowhere in Idaho or Switzerland.” Perhaps you’re saying, “No thanks! I don’t need another cave recording by some reclusive dude who is trying supposedly to capture the sound of their local forest.” You’re thinking you don’t need to read another hyped review and then hear another mediocre or worse black metal band.
First of all, this is a professional recording. It is meant to sound good. The band began some 30 years ago, and their name shows where their minds were at the time in the 1980s, inspired by the dark thrash of the time. Depending which era you’re talking about, some people might tell you that this is a death or black or death/black metal band. The new album, more than ever, finds the band perfecting its sound, showing that they are at their best when they focus on their brand of dark melodic black metal, built upon the classics, regardless of whether it is a Swedish, British, German, American, Brazilian or Norwegian foundational work of thrash, death, black or even traditional heavy metal itself.
I’m not going to dissect the album in detail, but I will tell you about two things that are examples of the band at its best. One thing that has happened to the band after collective decades under their bullet belts is that they have lost any fear of limits in the sound. They are confident and comfortable in their own skin, and that could not be more obvious in the soloing. They are not afraid to make the music memorable with traditional soloing that shows a lot effort put into the melodies and the feel. I mean traditional soloing in the sense that it has melodies that any metal fan can recognize and welcome. I can tell you that some of these solos are so shamelessly catchy, as if they decided to go all out and show that they are not afraid to let out the guitar hero. Now the guitar hero has been unleashed and this is what freedom sounds like.
The second thing I want to explain is the vocals. Extreme metal vocals, depending on the band, might sound good, but sometimes it seems like angry screaming, yelling and cupping the microphone is the normal way of doing things. The vocals might not necessarily contribute that much to the songs, and it can often be a case of needing to have a warm body at the front of the stage.
To hear a different way of doing things listen to this album. It’s black metal vocals, but it is pleasant on the ears. How is that possible? I guess that’s the difference in professionalism. If it were easy to do, everyone would have figured it out by now, right? Must all black metal vocals be irritatingly shrieked? Necrophobic is evidence and an argument to the contrary.
This is my choice for album of the week, my choice of the albums released during the week of February, 18th-24th. [by MMB]

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