The Necromancers will be a new name to many, but Ripple Music (home to plenty of top Doom, Stoner and Psych bands) are relishing the task of releasing this French outfits impressive debut. Another clue to their style is that they have recently been sharing the stage with the likes of Orange Goblin, Monkey 3, Saint Vitus, Graveyard, Lowrider and Elephant Tree, and they have plenty in their own varied musical style to interest fans of all those bands.
The six lengthy tracks on this debut display a maturity beyond the band’s youthful line-up, blending their influences and indulgences as the mood takes. There’s loads of meaty riffs hammered home by a dexterous rhythm section that will please Doom, Stoner and Psych fans alike. The vocals have an interesting split personality, utilizing a clean 70’s psych style, which you might expect, but this is countered by a ballsy hard rock tone (somewhere between OG’s Ben Ward and Almighty era Ricky Warwick), which not only lends extra emphasis to different parts of certain tracks, it helps to change the whole vibe of a track instantly when the music demands it. The production is clear and full, sharing a modern-yet-retro approach to the instruments that current bands like Vintage Caravan prefer (I’m sure it won’t be long before these two bands share a well-suited stage somewhere in Europe!)
The Necromancers’ skill is in how they blend styles within their own sound, giving greater emphasis to some in different tracks – ‘Lucifer’s Kin’ and ‘Salem Girl pt II’ lean towards stoner/doom, whereas ‘Black Marble House’ and ‘Grand Orbiter’ have a much more doom/psych flavour. As well as the doom, psych and stoner elements, there’s an undeniable nod towards NWOBHM at times too (as evident mostly on ‘Necromancers’), as a cue is taken from Angel Witch or Witchfinder General (maybe it’s a Salem thing…), that again just helps The Necromancers stand out from their contemporaries.
However, the only time all the above styles are blended together with a slightly more modern twist is on opening track ‘Salem Girl pt I, which has a fabulous groove throughout and so many memorable riffs to highlight each slight shift in style that it’s a great attention grabber – obviously why it heads the album! It also harbors the most ear-catching of the varied lead-work on the album – a fantastic extended solo to draw the track to a close, something else I look forward to hearing more of on future releases. And those releases will come, this is just the beginning for this interesting and professional sounding band, making their own unique splash in the doom/psych pond.
(8/10 Andy Barker)