Eyes of Blue Light/Oppression EP

Earlier this year I regrettably slept on the sophomore LP from Denver outfit Necropanther. Now the impressive young band has recently dropped the first of a planned series of EP’s, each written exclusively by an individual band member, beginning with Oppression, a three song effort penned by bassist Marcus Corich. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to bundle in dual write-ups, focussed on early year highlight Eyes of Blue Light and their recent Oppression EP. And if Necropanther slipped you by the first time around, prepare to dive into some of 2018’s most infectious and righteously awesome metal.

Eyes of Blue Light dropped early in 2018, but I’ve only recently unearthed it for my own consumption after missing the boat when it initially dropped. It has since become one of my most played albums in a bumper year of metal releases. There’s nothing particularly unique about Necropanther’s formula, yet the song-writing and tight, livewire performances are of such stellar quality that Eyes of Blue Light sounds fresh and is extremely addictive. Conceptually Eyes of Blue Light is inspired by the classic Dune sci-fi novel and the dedication towards the concept and obvious passion for the novel oozes from every note.

Musically, Necropanther combines feisty blackened thrash with sleek melodic death, cranked out with furious energy and feisty aggression. The melodic and soulful guitar leads work brilliantly in tandem with the band’s slick tempo shifts, killer riffs, and aggressive delivery. Paul Anop’s vocals feature loads of character, with his gurgly rasp and surprisingly dynamic delivery lending the album a more brutal edge. The counterbalance between Necropanther’s emotive melodies and epic dual harmonies, against their thrashier pulse and gritty delivery creates a cohesive and brutal combination. Necropanther’s skill at condensing their formula into easily digestible and punchy songs works a treat, creating a lean, concise listen with excellent replay value.

Standouts are plentiful across a remarkably consistent album. Glorious melodies underpin an aggressive thrash and blast approach on “Good as Dead,” while “Shai-Hulud” grips with its sharp mix of galloping tempos, deft dynamic shifts, and filthy grooves. The highlights keep coming as the album hurtles along enthusiastically. Soulful guitar licks and vocal cord shredding rasps create a wonderful harmony on “Water of Life” and the short and sweet “Feyd-Rautha” ramps up the brutality, especially with the disgustingly awesome vocals, without losing the catchy edge that permeates each song.

With an already outstanding album under their belts, Necropanther demonstrated their prolific creativity by dropping the Oppression EP. And while it doesn’t quite stack up against the might of Eyes of Blue Light, it still packs plenty of quality and punch into its shorter, more direct run-time. Although penned by one band member, Oppression doesn’t stray too far from the Necropanther formula, but is marked by its own distinctive tone and feel.

There’s a bit more grit and grime present, in both production and execution, while the thrashy, riff-centric traits remain a strong focal point. It also features a darker, sinister tone, while retaining the band’s impressive melodic undertones. At nearly eight minutes in length, closing track “The Fugitive” demonstrates a more ambitious approach, deviating from their generally shorter song lengths with solid results. The song is well paced and structured, bolstered by striking guitar work, intricate twists, and fluid tempo shifts.

Necropanther have emerged as an extremely bright prospect and are certainly one of my most treasured musical discoveries of 2018. Eyes of Blue Light is a stunning album, not to be missed for fans craving a blast of vibrant blackened thrash meets melo-death. Oppression doesn’t quite hit the lofty heights of Eyes of Blue Light but is nevertheless another solid addition to the band’s growing repertoire.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
January 11th, 2019


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