Seemingly everything that Ván Records releases within the death metal sphere is a classic demonstration of fetid annihilation as this German bunch add their name to their formidable roster with a debut that reeks of macabre finesse and ghoulish destruction. Focusing their malfeasance on the gutter wallowing bleakness of purulent deathliness Nekrovault epitomise just how foul and stench riddled a band can be without resorting to the wall of proverbial noise.

The calming effect laden start to the album on “Totenzug – Funereal Hillscapes” produces that elevation in tension, a sinister malignancy that few can produce before the oppressive riff crashes in with resolute rancidity. The ominous guitar work is balanced by the seismic, and I really mean seismic here, rhythm section that is ultra-dense and utterly bombarding throughout. Keeping the songs within a dirge like funereal atmosphere is monstrously terrifying as “Sepulkrator” continues the miasmic cloying ferocity within eight minutes of tortured terror. The sludgy pace is intensely opaque producing a suffocating climate the likes of which you will not experience often, as its grisly outpourings envelop the listener in a corrupted malevolence.

The nature of this album is invasive, it creeps into every cell and intoxicates remorselessly as “Pallid Eyes” is slightly shorter, with a faster overall tempo than the others. That being said that speed is not at the sacrifice of density as the blasted portions thud without any sign of dilution in force. In parts I was reminded of acts like Incantation, Funebrarum and newer outfits like Blood Incantation and Disma and whilst those comparisons are relevant Nekrovault are their own poisonous beast. With the two minute interlude “Serpentrance” paving the way for “Basilisk Fumes” the scene is set for an inhuman assault that sees the guitar produce a pernicious riff with truly monstrous and cavernous vocals.

Closing this gruesome debut is the magnificent “Eremitorium”, a sprawling cloying infestation that owes much to doom death, with the pace slithering to an absolute crawl with sporadic half blasts. The grotesquery that unfolds is hideously effective producing an unnerving aura as the song claws at the listener like a malformed beast. The excellent switches in pace increase the momentum as the angularity exhibited keeps everything focused and penetrating boasting a sublime guitar hook that permeates the song.

If clean cut death metal is your thing then avoid this like the plague, but if you crave unadulterated filth and staunch sonic defilement then I urge you to pick up this debut.

(9/10 Martin Harris)