Necropanther
The Doomed City

Necropanther? NECROPANTHER!

Hell-fucking-YES, Necropanther.

Be honest, you’re only here because of that name. Don’t be ashamed! It’s sure as hell the reason they caught my attention. You see a name like that, and you pretty much HAVE to see just what the hell that’s all about.

It’s really a bold, but risky strategy. Yes, the name alone is going to attract some attention. But Necropanther? Man, that’s a BIG name to try and live up to, and for me, my mind comes up with three likely scenarios here:

  • They’re a silly band with a silly, gimmicky name, who completely lack any real musical substance.
  • They’re a way-too-serious band completely lacking in any self-awareness of just how silly their band name is.
  • They’re literal cartoon characters.

Brothers and sisters, I’m SO happy to report that Necropanther is none of these things. What they’ve done here, is hit the sweet spot: a group of dudes with some serious musical chops, delivered with an upbeat, frenzied fervor that can’t help but put a smile on your face. A band serious enough about their craft to create quality, highly respectable material, but not so serious that they forget the thing most vital to pulling of a name like Necropanther: FUN.

As it turns out, I’m late to this party, as the band has been around since 2014 – The Doomed City being their third full-length release. This Denver-based quartet offer a brand of blackened thrash/death similar to the likes of Skeletonwitch or Revocation, with a distinctly upbeat kind of delivery that brings a band like Battlecross to mind. They get right down to business with opener “Renew.” After a familiarly thrashy intro, vocalist and guitarist Paul Anop breaks in with a raspy, “ALRIGHT!” and things rarely slow down from there. They may not have turned out to be literal cartoons, but 50 seconds into the song, lead guitarist Joe Johnson busts out catchy-as-hell melody that almost immediately made me think of Dethklok. 

And that’s not the last time the fictional metallers come to mind, either. After another thrashy start to “Death at Hand,” the band launches into another epic melody that could easily have come from Brendon Small’s musical catalogue, before barreling back into a more blackened thrash frenzy. And you can’t tell me that Swisgaar isn’t lending a hand on the intro to “Perricide – Genocide.” That’s him, goddamn it, I know it!

Epic melodies aside, the band does an excellent job over the 13 tracks interweaving elements of thrash, death and black metal throughout the album. “Arcade” and “Hell” taking decidedly thrashier approaches, while songs like “Deep Sleep” and the title track slow things down a bit, opting for a more plodding, hefty death/doom attack akin to early Asphyx or Benediction. “Tiger” and “Sanctuary” lean heavily on more on the blackened influences that permeate much of the album. Luckily, the band avoids the trap of trying to do too much. Everything blends together nicely into a cohesive sound and attitude that never really feels out-of-place or out of left field.

The whole package here is just a hell of a lot of fun. This is a band seemingly happy to wear their influences on their sleeve, and rip out a brand of metal that has something to offer for almost everyone. I can picture younger versions of these guys popping Dissection’s Reinkaos into their car’s CD player for the first time and saying, “Yes. I want to do that.” and dedicating the rest of the lives to that pursuit, picking up other little influences here and there along the way to create a gripping, thoroughly enjoyable and impressive fury of sound that is altogether their own. I may have been late to the Necropanther party, but this band and indeed this album have hit such a sweet spot for me: A little bit silly, with a whole lot of muscle.

If that doesn’t sound appealing to you… I mean, I don’t know what to tell you. We probably can’t be friends.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Steve K
February 11th, 2020

Comments

  1. Commented by: Allred

    Great spot on review. I enjoy the hell out of this album when I’m listening to it, but strangely it doesn’t call to me for many repeated listens afterwards…weird…


  2. Commented by: Steve K

    Thanks! I do understand where you’re coming from – if there’s one thing this album suffers from, it’s a lack of any one or two standout tracks that immediately call out to you and get burrowed into your head. As a total package I think they’ve put together something really fun here, and I’m willing to bet that these guys would be an absolute blast to see live.


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