Necronomicon“Advent of the Human God” is Neconomicon’s fourth album in over fifteen years of existence. What is immediately noticeable is the slickness with which this album is produced. That’s a positive point and it’s no compromise as these Canadians have atmospheres to create, which they do in a fulcrum of lofty, at times symphonic blackened death metal. The title track is pure Dimmu Borgir, just as “The Golden Gods, which follows it, has the air of a Suffocation track. Necronomicon place their stamp on all this with their crunchy riffs and a steady and remorseless progress towards death.

Ethereal symphony returns briefly with “Okkultis Trinity” before “Unification of the Four Pillars” takes us back into dark worlds, exemplified by triggering drums and thundering all-round blackness. The shrieking symphony is now embedded into the picture as a mortal threat. “Crown of Thorns” is pure death, hammering away at our souls, but it’s not stingy. It’s expansive and captivating as it spreads its dark wings atmospherically and majestically. Drums, crunch guitar, harsh vocals and symphonic elements combine to create this controlled whirlwind. “The Fjord” enters deeper territory, planting an imposing riff in our head while treading its deathly path. A brief choral break takes us by surprise before we are returned to the sinister path. A noteworthy feature of Necronomicon’s songs is their structure. Each one is layered and carefully compiled. The track “Necronomicon” brings brief spiritual, almost Eastern respite, then comes the riposte in the form of the belligerent “I (Bringer of Light)”. Its mechanical defiance bore similarity to the death metal of Behemoth and many Polish bands, I thought. After a brief rendering of Celtic Frost’s “Innocence and Wrath”, there is one final imperious blast. “Alchemy of the Avatar” rises from the death metal ashes and expands epically, as so many tracks before it have done.

There’s an element of old school about “Advent of the Human God” but it’s more than just that. The impressive and for me the most enjoyable feature of this album is its commitment to expansive dark structures and atmospheres, which Necronomicon achieve in creating.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)