Swedish black metallers Nekrokraft have just unleashed their first full-length album ‘Servants’…And it’s a mixed bag to be fair.

Following on from the 2016 mini-album ‘Will o’ Wisp’, ‘Servants’ is equal parts black/thrash and symphonic metal, that unfortunately fails to fully commit successfully to any of those particular genres, coming across rather like a cut-price Belphegor.

The band consisting of Angst (Vocals), Doc (Lead Guitar), Iron (Rhythm Guitar), Ghol (Bass) and drummer Moloch are a tight unit for sure, but something doesn’t quite connect on this album.

Roaring in, like the beginning of Marduk’s excellent ‘Rom 5:12’, we get off to a good start with the rollicking ‘Mouth ov Ahriman’. Death/black vox, plenty of blasting, and effective chanting immediately start to impress (there’s even a surprisingly exciting cock rock guitar solo). But despite the solid groove of ‘Lechery’, the symphonic elements of the music start to sow seeds of worry.

‘Gateway to Damnation’ is a thrashier beast, but with ‘Servants of the Black’ the “more of the same” feeling begins to set in. A kind of Blast, growl, rinse and repeat. ‘Rotten Husk’ particularly outstaying its welcome.

The crowd-pleasing refrain of “Hail Satan, Hail Lucifer” on ‘Brimstone and Flames’ proves that things can’t be all bad, but the labored strains and annoying “plinky plonk” of ‘Eternal, I Am’ brings us back down.

‘Dance ov the Nekrolythes’ fairs much better with its W.A.S.P.-ish central riff and sense of urgency, that is however, until the ill-judged breakdown part, and the militaristic ‘Plague’ ends with a tolling bell.

…Of course it does…

A shame to report then, that with this release Nekrokraft may not have done enough to fully stand out from the pack, and despite a few strong moments, ‘Servants’ doesn’t quite deliver the goods.

(5/10 Stuart Carroll)