Mark Of The Necrogram
Century Media Records
The first time I listened to this record, I had been in a terrible mood over an incident at work. It was just the kind of thing that I needed to drown out the world and many boxes were stacked that day. During my menial labor however, I began to think of all the great acts that we have to thank for this sound, like Dissection… whom were still around at the time and couldn’t have been an inspiration. I suppose it’s time for The Grim Lord to start checking out early Necrophobic albums (this is my first) because I was so blown away by this effort and greatly look forward to that now as yet another reason to continue living.
In any case, Necrophobic really blew the roof off with this thing, giving me that iconic blackened death metal sound that still feels tied up in thrash where it breathes best, rather than becoming a technical nightmare with no real sense of purpose. What’s more, is that frontman Anders Strokirk has the same style of harsh vocal that I loved so much from Henri Sattler, Jens Rydén and Jon Nödtveidt, which to me feels like the definition of a harsh vocal, the very thing that you’d expect to hear from an actual demon if you’d summoned it from The Lesser Key Of Solomon to appear before you. I want vocalists to sound like demons in this kind of metal and on this record, Strokirk manages that perfectly. He doesn’t go into cleans, death growls or some sort of silly gut-punch approach that you’ll hear on many other discs that only pretend to sound evil. Even if the material here is based on horror films, at least it dresses the part and makes me smile with sadistic glee.
As we may expect from the guitar selections here, an obvious hardened black metal edge is uttered, coupled with a mountain of memorable melodies and solo efforts that seem to recall horror film soundtracks as well as middle eastern folk music – two distinct sounds that meld surprisingly well together. I will say that I found it very hard to hear Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergebäck’s guitar riffs at times, even though that could be my speaker tuning and may not affect your listen at all. Please keep in mind that the guys wanted to keep it raw on this album, so there’s still a little bit of that classic nineties feel which is going to resonate more with older listeners than it will the new breed.
Chances are that if you didn’t get into the new Bloodshot Dawn that I covered a few days ago, this is going to be your thing. There is definitely a little bit of modernism here and there to be found, though not much – and that’s a good thing. Again, if these guys went into the technical and core-laden nonsense that has overpowered metal in the last number of years, I’d have probably jumped off a cliff. There’s one quite close to my place too, so don’t tempt me.
I think it can be said simply, that if you love Dissection, Thulcandra, God Dethroned, Naglfar and several similar acts that I live for when it comes to this genre (I still don’t know how these guys ever skipped my mind, though clearly I have some research yet to do) then you’re going to love this record as well.
A Metal Archives reviewer who typed up more paragraphs than I have socks (and I have a lot of socks) uttered that he thought it was “just another Necrophobic album” and ultimately gave it an 85% over there. However, I quite liked this album a bit more than that and feel it is one of my personal favorite discs of the year. A record like this offers the kind of performance that I can put on any time that I need therapy and though I don’t recommend it as music affects us all differently; I find that Necrophobic embody enough rage and malice to serve as a potent stress and anxiety reliever, which equals out to a better sleep session and ultimately more alterness during the drudgery of the next day. Yes, I have a very stressful day job, but Mark Of The Necrogram is wonderful medication to help with that.
In addition to that unsuspected notion, the record also kicks a metric ton of ass – just as I’d expect for traditional black/death (not war metal) which we really need to appreciate more as a society. Definitely one of the best genres in heavy metal for me, and it’s one of the reasons that The Grim Tower exists in the first place. Go buy this album, The Grim Lord commands it!
(10 Tracks, 49:00)
Purchase HERE (Amazon)