As the opening tones of introductory number “The Slaughter of Baby Jesus” opens up Necrophobic’s fifth effort, I literally got goose bumps from the mix of epic choral arrangements, chants and menacing delivery. It’s a pity the rest of the album never reaches that same level of tangible musical wickedness, instead plying a solid if predictable black/death metal mix that is overshadowed by label mates Thyrane, Torchbearer, Keep of Kalessin and Setherial.

After the blistering Bloodhymns, I had rather high expectations for this record, and I’ll admit that I was disappointed when I heard Hrimthursum (The Frost Giants) was not going to be produced at Sunlight Studios, as Necrophobic are one of the last bands to utilize Skogsberg’s seminal sound, and it tangibly lessen the visceral intensity of the album, but certainly does not detract from a still quality album.

Notably more controlled and less seething ( I personally think due to the production) than Bloodhymns, delivers the expected polished take on blackened death metal with splashes of atmosphere and malevolence, but overall a far harsher delivery. After the creepy intro, “Blinded By Light, Enlightened By Darkness” and “I Will Strike With Wrath” deliver speedy blackened thrusts of typically scalding tremolo picked Scandinavian competence, but with the choral menace “Age of Chaos” Necrophobic offer up a more impressive, slower dirge, a common theme in Hrimthursum , as the slower, synth flocked numbers are far more effective then the admittedly venomous competence of the “The Crossing”, “Eternal Winter”, “Death Immaculate”. However, tracks like “Sitra Ahra”, the marching “Serpents (Beneath the Forest of the Dead” and “Hrimthursum”, all slightly more restrained and glossed with keys and occasional vocal tangents are just dripping with a little more sneering intensity.

That being said, despite it’s overall above average quality, nothing on Hrimthursum reaches out a just slays me as “Act of Rebellion” did on Bloodhymns, and ultimately seems a bit of a let down after the 4 year wait from Bloodhymns.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 23rd, 2006


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