Necrovation
Necrovation

Back in 2008 Sweden’s Necrovation dropped Breed Deadness Blood, an authentic,  throwback but modern Swedish death metal record that was retro, before retro was vogue. It was widely regarded as a new classic of sorts and was a deservingly acclaimed record. 4 Years later Necrovation are back and have added a second guitarist, and those expecting anything similar to Breed Deadness Blood, should probably brace themselves.

I knew from the preview track, “Sepulchreal” that things might be ‘different’, but I withheld judgement until hearing the whole album- and yeah this thing is definitely different. And I don’t like it. It’s possible that the recent slew of old School Swedish releases (Entrails, Revel In Flesh, Binah, Horrendous, etc) combined with the band’s last album could have tainted my expectations, and while this isn’t quite an Amoral like shift in styles, it is without a doubt a release that could be mistaken for a completely different band by any listener and is easily going to be one of the most divisive albums of 2012.

I liken this to the feeling  to 1) when I heard Liers In Wait‘s Spiritually Controlled Art EP expecting something resembling Entombed or Dismember, 2) Convulse‘s Reflections vs  World Without God and 3) and  when listening to Xysma‘s Lotto expecting Above the Mind Of Morbidity, the the style shift isn’t quite that dramatic, it’s the same feeling. Necrovation is still sort of a death metal band in loose terms, there’s guitars (albeit cleaner thrashier) and there’s riffs  (albeit quirkier and more scattershot) and there are growls, (now a throaty, higher register than the debut). There’s  even some blast beats (as heard in “Sepulchreal” or ” New Depths”). However, the whole album is sheathed is a bizarre, experimental, off kilter, eclectic aura that’ s unsettling- and not in a good way.

A perfect microcosm  of the whole album is the track “Resurrectionist”- it’s a hot  mess of a song that simply goes no where and is about as random and a scatter shot collection of riffs and time changes as there can be. It’s a sort of proto thrash, jazzy, freeform, groove death metal amalgamation that simply doesn’t have any cohesion- its experimentation and progression for the sake of it with no structure.  Then there is “The Transition”, an instrumental number that has acoustics and violins as book ends for some mid paced atonal warbling riffs. There’s a huge difference between intricate layers and the paint on a wall and see what sticks approach. And the thing is there’s just enough minute strains of well done metal to just lure me in before the rug is jerked out;  like teasingly titled opener “Necrovorus Insurrection” for example gets things going furiously or “New Depths”  hinting at maybe a subtle style shift and “Dark Lead Dead” starts with a semi menacing groove. But then I listen to closer “III : Mouth Madness (The Many”) (even the song titles are wtf?) “Pulse of Towering Madness” or dizzying “Commander of Remains” and I get flustered again, though there is a vibe that reminds me of Comecon‘s  more off kilter stuff here and there.

And it’s not like I’m some neanderthal death metal fan,  though if fans of this release want to call me that, I’m  fine with it. I like progression and experimentation (and even came to appreciate Liers in Wait  and Lotto and even  LOVE Reflections ) and even embrace stylistic changes when done well, but here it simply comes across as too jarring, random and jumbled. However, it is this kind of diversity that does makes metal so unique, creative and challenging. Just not on Necrovation. This double edged sword is splitting me in half.

They say the line between genius and cray is a very thin one, and Necrovation for many will walk that line. But they also say opinions are like assholes- well mine is the puss ridden, hemorrhoid infested one and while this release may get lauded around metal critic circles (I’ve seen it called a potential death metal album of year at one respected publication) , I can’t bring myself to agree as it simply isn’t clicking for me yet, and I’m not sure it ever will (though I will admit, this is the kind of record that in 10 years I revisit and ‘get’) . It’s not a terrible album in the traditional sense, but it’s a terribly different and confusing album.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
July 30th, 2012

Comments

  1. Commented by: gordeth

    Good review, but you already know I don’t agree with it. I think you’ll grow to like this album after the shock wears off.


  2. Commented by: Dan Zidar

    Amazing album…. So glad they stopped being a “by the numbers” old school Swedish death metal band. Leave that to bands content to rehash the past.


  3. Commented by: vugelnox

    I agree with adam and dan, I dig the hell out of this. Reminds me of Karnarium a bit in its unorthodox approach to the genre. Different strokes and all!


  4. Commented by: Bongripper

    I actually like this one better than their debut… One of the better releases of the year.

    So far, anyways..


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