I’ve been following LICH KING for quite some time now. I had listened to their demo originally at a friend’s place and instantly fell in love with the band. Although the demo had a rough production, the band’s pure awesomeness in their song writing more than made up for the production. So when the chance came to review their debut album, so lovingly entitled “Necromantic Maelstrom”, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.
Strangely enough, the production values are barely any better than their demo that was released the previous year. But as I stated above, this actually has very little affect on how the music hit me – which is strange because unlike many older Metalheads I was raised on a cleaner sounding production which is usually what I prefer. So for many newer fans, this very rough sounding production (circa 1983ish) might be a turn off but for their style of old school chaotic Thrash Metal – it fits quite well.
But the true star of LICH KING isn’t the kick ass album artwork or the nostalgic production sound but the songwriting. These guys really know what makes a Thrash song tick and they hit every button to make a person headbang. Whether it’s the brutally catchy monster riffs, the technical and sharp leads/solos, the basement crushing bass, the swing of a snare/cymbal combo, or just the harsh shout of vocals – LICH KING hits all of it like the band has been around since 1983 and never lost their edge. In fact, much of the album almost sounds like it’s a live recording of the band (especially the vocals which are raw and have a slight echo effect to them) that made me want to start a pit in the middle of the street.
Thrash fans are going to love this album to death. It even has the tongue in check lyrics about violence that made Thrash so controversial in the 80s. Any song with the title “Kill Your Guts Out” must be heard, even if the lyrics are too ridiculous. And every Thrash Metal fan is going to love “Thrashssacre” just for the title. The best comparison I can make for this album is literally “Bonded By Blood” from Thrash Metal legends, EXODUS.
Which brings me to my next point… as if making an almost perfect Thrash album wasn’t enough to justify their existence, LICH KING decided to prove their worth by adding on two classic Thrash Metal covers to the end of the somewhat short album. EXODUS’ “A Lesson In Violence” and VIO-LENCE’s “Bodies On Bodies”. And both of these covers fit the album perfectly in style and era. So if either of these songs appeal to you – then buy this album!
Now seriously lets get these guys as much money as possible so that they can make more albums (or at least have better production values on their next one) because “Necromantic Maelstrom” simply wasn’t enough for me. A MUST HAVE FOR ANY THRASH METAL FAN.
Songs to check out: “Lich King”, “Reavers”, “Thrashssacre”.
(Online February 20, 2008)