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The Descent begins with an orchestral piece you’d find fitting for a scene in a fantasy film, perhaps from Peter Jackson. But lo, the Advent of the Human God is investigated by angels, three, dressed in roman armour and descending within pillars of ancient stone before a great flame. The transitioning from orchestral to death metal is without a hitch, allowing both interpretations to bleed over one another for a few more bars before plunging into the black in the second track. Considered pioneers of symphonic death metal, Necronomicon have realised and honed their vision of death metal mixed with symphonic/orchestral applications with concept albums.

The Golden Gods continues from where Advent of the Human God (title track) left off, a chaotic assault of a supernatural symphony over now a machine gun blast beat with a phaser fading through. A sudden pause, the reverb washes away, and then the jarring display of vicious blasting and dissonant riffage. After a few verses and chorus, the band halts their attack before striking again with a blistering phrygian-sounding solo.

Unification of the Four Pillars reintroduces symphonic elements halfway through their most brutal song insofar, racing through what almost sounds like Lamb of God progressions. Crown of Thorns follows up with a return to orchestral, cinematic wonders from the opener, but only for a few short bars as they demonstrate their ability to turn the melody into a big-ass riff. Crown of Thorns also shows that even death metal vocals fit well in a chorus of symphonic-driven hooks. Necronomicon has thus far progressively turned the dial up each song, each one unique and more intense.

Okkultis Trinity provides a breather with another godly symphonic piece, and then comes The Fjord, their most dynamic track. A startling beginning with an acoustic for a sudden change, Necronomicon quickly shifts back to death metal with memorable riffs that gets discarded at the arrival of the solo. Now blistering fast again, the solo finds a fitting place amongst the rhythm before dropping off into the symphony. The riffs build back up, recalling the original riffs with now a droning, ritualistic tone amidst the chaos.

Gaia once more sees the band begin with an orchestra, but with crows cawing it can only mean things will get darker from here on out. An eerie lure of a piece, it makes you anxious, waiting for the blast of guitars and drums that never come – leaving you with a female voice echoing like a spirit unclear. The crows caw once more as the droning male voice returns with ritual drumming preparing for I, Bringer of Light.

Another monstrous assault of frantic riffing, Necronomicon pays tribute to Celtic Frost after I, Bringer of Light with Innocence and Wrath. Sending off with Alchemy of the Avatar, the album closes with a final example of death metal and orchestral instrumentations working in harmony as a clean piano solo fits easily over unabashed carnage. The last thing you hear is a breakdown executed with daring audacity.

Out Now through Seasons of Mist

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