For many years I had a purist outlook on Blackened Death Metal, it was a mix that I didn’t really enjoy. Mainly it’s sad to say for the Black Metal element. Whilst I’ve always been a fan of Black Metal I’ve never viewed it as enticing as Death Metal until quite recently. I now appreciate the more occult leanings and often orthodox nature of the genre. It’s helped me look past the classics and embrace the genre more openly. The same can of course be said for Blackened Death Metal which now I actively seek rather than brush past.

Adding to my Blackened Death repertoire today are the French assault that is Necrowretch. Having formed in 2008 after a couple of name changes the band went on to release a slew of demos and EPs. Yet it wasn’t until 2013 that the band released their highly praised debut full length Putrid Death Sorcery. From here the band have kept a steady fan base. Their sophomore effort With Serpents Scourge garnering similar acclaim. So, in 2020 and under the guise of Season Of Mist the band prepare to unleash The Ones From Hell, their fourth full length record.

The melodic Blackened riffs of Pure Hellfire create a progressive opening for the record. Then follows a ghastly reverberating rasp of vocals that shatters the building blocks and makes way for total warfare. Speed and carnage rush about Death Metal drumming, memorable vocals and an almost Thrash delivery to create Extreme Metal purity. There is an almost definite Thrash ethos throughout the album which comes to light through memorable lyrics, Luciferian Sovranty being another prime example of this trait. Then enters Absolute Evil, an instrumental minus the chant of ‘Absolute Evil’ at the end. It is to my mind rather pointless, but none the less it does show some good drumming ability, although of its purpose in the album I’m unsure

Thankfully Codex Obscuritas puts the album back on track. The songs melodious Thrash injected riffs keep things interesting and polished amid what is otherwise chaos. Darkness Supreme also gives more memorability which is a welcome return to form for what is otherwise a bit of a lull in this department. Again, a track full of Blackened speed which is backed with the extremity of Death Metal instrumentation. Then comes Through The Black Abyss, another practically instrumental track. This is quite a downside as this record really doesn’t demand any sort of break. These portions stunt the album just when things get going and act as little more than filler. The album closes with the self titular Necrowretch, another Thrashing mad obliteration that at least rounds things off properly.

So minus the false starts in the instrumentals The Ones From Hell is a pretty good listen. The beginning is certainly more exciting than the climax but nonetheless there’s some strong musicianship to be found within. Although the listener can’t help but feel a little cheated by the interludes, especially when they’re full of the same vigour as the rest of the album. Their lack of lyrics only serves to make the tracks appear lazy. You might think this is a minor issue, but to me, looking at the whole release I feel it’s a pretty big mark on an otherwise great album.

(7/10 George Caley)