Slain in the Spirit

The UKs Necronautical (which I’m now learning means ‘to explore death’, and not something maritime related…) first appeared on my radar their second effort, 2016s, The Endurance at Night on the then reborn , legendary UK label, Cacophonous Records. They were a solid , enjoyable, but unspectacular symphonic black metal act with innate Cradle of Filth, Hecate Enthroned and Dimmu Borgir hues. Their third album, Apotheosis, passed me by, but I since have grabbed it after this  album, their fourth effort, that sees the band finally elevate into something really fucking good.

With a much fuller, expanded symphonic and choral element, including some well done dramatic, female operatic vocals, Necronautical, while still a symphonic black metal band at their roots, they have dropped the corpse paint, and are now delving into blackened/death, with some more progressive elements. You can hear more of say Rotting Christ and SepticFlesh, but I think the band has been listening to Fleshgod Apocalypse a little. Just listen to throttling , killer opener “Ritual & Recursion”, and tell me that could not have come from Agony or King. Especially that gorgeous, dramatic, choral blast and bridge about 1:50 in. Simply stunning.

The rest of the album follows suit. Armed with a big, bombastic production from Conan’s Chris Fielding, the songs all hit home, without a weak one in the 9. But a few standout, for example, the title track has a fantastic, melodic gallop and the fourth song “Hypnagogia”, an arguable personal favorite, has a brilliant choral chorus to die for. Then there’s the pure orchestral bombast and stern march of “Pure Consciousness Event”, the urgent melodic canter and moody respite of “Necropsychonautics” and the closing track,  “Death Magick Triumphant” (not counting aa symphonically drenched  cover of Slayer’s “Disciple” from God Hates Us All), a bombastic, mid paced epic with some clean vocals and killer, somber melodies  and choirs to round the album out perfectly.

With Slain in the Spirit, Necronautical has taken that elusive ‘next step’ in their sound and career and delivered an album that like Utbyrd‘s Varskrik, should heralded as one of 2021s best symphonic black metal albums.  Also, with four albums, I think they are now ready to be mentioned in the same breath as some of their modern symphonic metal peers like Carach Angren and such. Cradle of Filth‘s upcoming  Existence is  Futile has better bring it.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
August 31st, 2021


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