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Necrophobic - Darkside
Review: Moving securely into black metal and completing the transition begun by their last EP "Spawned by Evil," Necrophobic bring forth their new product of fast-paced metal in the melodic death and black metal traditions.
Well integrated into the aesthetic needs of black metal in the Dark Funeral, Dissection, and Marduk traditions, these musicians play ludicrously well and so blow through quite a bit of complexity quickly when they want to -- the frequency of their choice not to is a weakness of this album which has these players dropping into familiar figures where invention was required. This weakness leads to exaggerations of phrasing and tonal shape, meaning that in an album of fine musical work often the obscuring aesthetic is the cliché overblown in its own coverup.
Musically creative elements of design make this album eminently listenable over most of this genre. Verse-chorus structures and silly or frivolous main thematic melodies offset this power and bring forth the worst of the time period. Fast changing power chords charge across rigid drumbeats for verse riffs, rising into choruses of melodic and sweet counterpoints to the rushing collision of verse and bridge to the harmony. Overall the musicality wins out, in the simple ability to compose melodies that are both intriguing and balanced, something many less-trained or less-attentive musicians miss. Yet while musicality increases in crisp solidity, it seems that the essential focus of this band have gone and the form is the goal more than a servant of it.
Violent sawing guitar alternates between gently moving riffs which conserve cycles of intense energy for discharge, leaving the layering of bass and guitar racing through patterns over drums with mostly blast beating motions. Quotes from older styles of black metal, American death metal, and current Norwegian fare reign alongside customizations for the rhythmic signature of Necrophobic, a bouncy but serious pace at which interchange of dominant beat from guitar to drums and bass can occur with ease.
Forever entrenched in these riffs and structures is the seeming conflict between a death metal band working further into the higher speed choices of that genre and a black metal band moving closer to melody but often returning instead to rock n roll roots. All instrumentals remain deliberately simple, recombining in connectivity throughout the cycles of the song if not invisible undercurrents, filligreed with the fine and tonically-aware guitar solos which a tribe of worms crawl through the predicted harmonic atmosphere and much in the way of jazz fusion guitarism work a more evocative context out of it.
The simple beauty of this album makes it an easy choice, but its overall direction often lacks composure, leaving the moments of beauty and cliche to vie for dominance of aesthetic. Despite this discohesiveness and appreciable judgement errors in lyrical emphasis, there is beautiful music here, including some reasonably composed although emotionally overplayed introductions which do not interrupt the passage of this album toward musical power.