As a total Death Metal devotee I get very excited about even the smallest of artists releasing new material. What I mean to say is I’m normally that guy who gets excited about new albums from bands like Necrophiliac or Morbid Saint. The kind of artists whom gained a small but much warranted amount of praise back in the day. This is not to defame any artist, for right from the unsigned to the enormous I’m interested, and at the end of the day is that not what makes us Alternative music fans?
Canada is pretty rife with talented artists both big and small and today’s subjects are long time worshippers of Death Metal. They are of course Necronomicon! Formed way back in 1988 the band strove for success but alas it was too little too late. Whilst their Morbid Ritual demo from 1992 and The Silver Key EP from 1996 were respected it wasn’t until 1999 that their debut full length was unveiled. By which point the massive hype around Death Metal was, well, dying. Yet said debut Pharaoh Of Gods gained the band praise in the underground as have their subsequent releases. Now in 2019 we usher in Unus the bands sixth full length release.
The massive Symphonic bombardment begins in From Ashes Into The Flesh. The big sound is coupled with breakneck speed Death Metal and low traditional vocals to create a sort of Moonspell or Septicflesh vibe. Paradise Lost sees the more orchestral moments break down a little which in a sense is quite a relief. As much as I enjoy this level of pomp it often feels like ‘how many strings and trumpets can we fit in’ as oppose to actually creating something interesting. This release and others like it often suffer with the trait that the Symphonics become so epic that they lose sight of their purpose. Interlude, The Price Of A Soul brings back the Classical influence in such a sense but upon commencement of Singularis Dominus the orchestration is handled with a great deal more care and consideration making for an enjoyable track.
By the start of the second half of this record the album gets a little boring. Maybe it’s just me but I’m not all that mad on Symphonics in Extreme Metal, the whole production just comes off as lacklustre and an excuse to write presumably computer-based orchestration as oppose to solid riffs. Really this all sounds quite harsh though and what I should say is that this is likely some of the more tolerable Symphonic Death Metal that I’ve heard. In fact Ascending The Throne Of Baator is even a credit to the sub-genre, with just the right balance between the Classical and the Metal. Cursed MMXIX even comes across as more strictly Death Metal displaying some of those much wanted more prevalent riffs but it’s a bit too little too late and at the end of the day serves only to make the album feel inconsistent. Adding to this is the concluding Vox Draconis which just dabbles in the orchestration to the point of insignificance.
Do I hate this record? No absolutely not. The strangest thing is I have great admiration for both Classical and Death Metal, slap them together though and suddenly I’m underwhelmed. Couple this with the mixture of Symphonic and more OSDM tracks and you’ve just got a really unbalanced release. It feels a lot like Necronomicon are playing around with sounds and that this album should be in the pre-production stages as oppose to a finished article. My advice go back and listen to Pharaoh Of Gods a much more solid all rounder which is a credit to the band.
(5/10 George Caley)