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Necromantia - Scarlet Evil Witching Black
Review: The excess of black metal prompts many to wonder where further extremity fits, but bands like Necromantia assure us the space of chaos remains wide for creativity. Their work, somewhere between Judas Priest and Dark Throne, brings out the best in heavy metal style black metal while emphasing the nihilistic essence of modern metal. Rhythm comes from the heavy-strumming hand of Norwegian black metal and synchronizes to a progressive rock drum track designed to give the guitars freedom to vary both in riff and lead guitar arrangements.
With a storyteller's gift for meta-rhythm Necromantia weave complex dramatic motion within their otherwise rigidly metallic masterpieces, finding ways to make each verse serve the building whole so to achieve structural complexity. Surely every piece of metal from its history is here; the Black Sabbath budget riffs and tritonal denouement, the grindcore blast beat and the black metal racing beat, doomy melodic passages from the repertoire of stoner metal bands worldwide, abrupt black metal melodic riffing, death metal phrase granularity, progressive rock space-age lead guitar, and Iron Maiden style melodic song assembly.
Musicianship is superb although perhaps texturally unfamiliar, since the entire album is played on 8-string basses used as immensely technical string weapons; each theme is crafted as a phrase with melody and center in the old style, and the overlaid classical touches and background instrumental arrangements accentuate the phrase expertly. Moribund as it is this release is not in any real way as ominous or fleshlessly nihilistic as many black metal bands, but similarly dissonant by repossessing rock n roll in the image of this morbid, cruising, romantic and yet malevolent art.