NerptrecusAs French as the album and song titles suggest, Neptrecus return with their first full-length album after releasing a demo back in early 2012. Some of the tracks here may indeed ring with an air of familiarity if you heard the self-titled demo as old tracks have been re-recorded and of course expanded upon to make up this album. Let’s not beat around the bush here, this is black metal pure and simple and to a large extent this adheres to an old school mindset. After an instrumental intro, ‘L’Eternal Sablier’ wastes no time getting down with some pure battering black metal, with a dark and deadly edge. Thunderous drums rage away, as the cymbals clatter and crash through the windy, chaotic tumult of ‘Magna Grecia’. This one also has a high pitched guitar line that adds atmosphere and a mysterious vibe. Yes, as much as I say this is furious black metal, there are also moments where things slow down enough to keep the balance, and it’s far from a one dimensional effort. ‘Sous Le Signe De L’Aquila’ is brought in with an intro echoing Primordial with its acoustic jangle before the listener is flung forth into the chaos. Vocals are roaring, callous and filled with aggression.

The album, for me, seems to pick up momentum as it progresses and later tracks strike as having a more Paganic feel to them which wasn’t as obvious earlier on. ‘Fiers Gaulois’ has a strong swaggering rhythm as though marching into the thick of a battle scene, while ‘406: Les Grandes Invasions’ is more mid-paced and has a reflective undercurrent running through its winding guitars and the ferocity and hatred that can also be heard. There’s a bit of a Drudkh-like ambience as ‘Au Royaume De Neustrie’ starts up, with its resplendent guitar sound and rich layers that build up to give depth, shimmering with the post-battle mourning dew [sic]. The calm after the storm.  The final track; ‘L’Aube De Declin’ pounds out with ferocity but an underlying feel of dejection, with desperation building in the vocals to a final series of ‘whoa’s a la Winterfylleth.

Production is of a good standard, and overall while this isn’t breaking any new territory it’s a decent effort of above average black metal standard.

(7/10 Luci Herbert)