Canadians Necronomicon have been doing the rounds of the blackened death metal scene for quite some time now, in fact they formed back in 1988. ‘Rise of the Elder Ones’ is their fourth full length studio album, and continuing their previous label shifting (each album previous they’ve switched label), album number four sees them jump straight into the laps of one of the ‘bigger’ boys, with Season of Mist snapping them up. My only previous experience of the band was their previous album ‘The Return of the Witch’, and not a lot has changed at all since 2010.
Musically Necronomicon play a hybrid of death metal with a blackened edge (and even some thrashiness thrown into their riffage pot too, so as to attempt to please most ears). From the off it’s clear that these guys are super refined, with pristine musicianship and polished production pushing their sound boldly in to your face throughout with the almost constant pace. There’s plenty of modern day Behemoth to be heard in their more rampant riffage, but also touches of Dimmu Borgir/Cradle of Filth coming to the forefront due to the usage of synth work (although, the synth itself is a little bit naff in comparison with the aforementioned bands, while not Casio keyboard hell, it certainly doesn’t sound even close to being truly orchestral, put it that way).
Although most of the album powers along as a breakneck pace, the title track ‘Rise of the Elder Ones’ brings a slower crawl to the proceedings, with occasional nods to Morbid Angel in the crunchy chugs and clickety-clack bass drum led rhythms. A lot of the riffage reminds me of the style which The Chasm do so well, just void of the majority of their atmosphere and with a more clinical spin put on things. Oddly, in ‘From Beyond’, the guitars drop out so as to feature a Dimebag Darrell-esque bluesy solo, which doesn’t particularly fit in with the rest of the song’s blasting drums and tremolo picked riff salad. ‘Celestial Being’ is a pretty dull synth instrumental track which just meanders along without really inspiring much in the way of anything, before leading into ‘Dark Corners of the Earth’ which is actually probably one of the better tracks on the album, with great arrangements and a powerful presence.
This is not a bad release per se, but it did leave me feeling cold after listening to it. I gave it a good few chances to grow, but it just couldn’t hook me – all I feel is indifference. It has its moments with some decent riffage and fair arrangements, but as an album I found it lacking for the most part. Necronomicon have some decent ideas, but they often throw them at you all at once causing them to become muddled, or are so clinically put together that it just seems to have all the atmosphere and life sucked right out of them. It’s almost as clinical as the band member’s perfect corpse paint. Anyhow, if you dream of a beefed up version of Dimmu & Cradle with Behemoth sized riffage – this could well be your new favourite band. Failing that, you’re probably safe passing this by.
(5.5/10 Lars Christiansen)