When first encountering NECRONOMICON’s early photos, the natural reaction would likely have been to peg them as German adherents to the post-Punk scene of the early 80s, albeit closer to the traditional imagery of bands like THE CLASH and THE DAMNED. The off-kilter hair styles were the main culprit, as their affection for leathers could have put them in with the ACCEPT crowd, which is somewhat closer to their sound. By contrast, the actual musical presentation is a melodic, almost Power Metal oriented variant of Thrash Metal that sounds similar to DESTRUCTION, but with a good hint of early German melodic speed ala RAGE and RUNNING WILD.
This particular album adheres very strongly to the original mixture of aggressive vocal shouts and melodic riffing observed on their early albums, but with a much cleaner production and a little bit of an awareness of the newer German Power Metal acts that came out of the mid to late 1990s such as PARAGON and IRON SAVIOR. This is particularly noticeable in the peculiar sound and character of the lead guitar tracks, which sound somewhat like early PARAGON ala Martin Christian with maybe a little hint of recent MANILLA ROAD lead work.
Likewise, the band’s mastery of the gang chorus is almost enough to put ANTHRAX and OVERKILL to shame. The lead and gang backup interchanges on the chorus sections of “Fiction” and “Paralizer” succeed in being twice as bombastic as what was heard on “Taking Over” or “Among the Living”, while being just a little too aggressive for much of the German Power Metal scene, though it is likely that SAVAGE CIRCUS, IRON SAVIOR, PARAGON, GAMMA RAY and even FREEDOM CALL were influenced by this approach to vocal arrangement in varying respects.
Stylistically, the variation in approach from song to song mostly hearkens back to the mid to late 80s approach, mostly being dominated by speed songs with the occasional slower rocker and token half-ballad. “Alight” and “Hills Of Dead” have a lot of German pre-Thrash elements and NWOBHM leanings, the latter of which tends to resemble 80s STORMWITCH and some hints of IRON MAIDEN. “Terrorist Attack” definitely carries some heavy ACCEPT influences, as well as a gloomy piano line which is fairly uncharacteristic for a straight Thrash Metal outfit. “Fireball” has this somber acoustic line to it that meshes with some standard power chord riffing to form a middle ground between ANTHRAX and BAD RELIGION. It’s definitely the catchiest and vocally melodic of what’s on here, but occasionally kicks in the speed to keep it from being a straight power ballad.
To the prospective shopper of faster metal with a taste for the old school, this is something that can appeal equally to fans of old school Thrash Metal, early US Power Metal and early German Speed Metal. The only thing that the latter two groups of fans should consider is that Freddy Fredrich’s gravely vocal style is more akin to the semi-melodic shouts of KREATOR and DESTRUCTION than the less dirty melodic vocal approach of Rolf Kasparek or Udo Dirkschneider. But for fans of German Thrash Metal, this is far superior to what most of their scene has been offering up the past few years.
(Online August 17, 2008)