Destined, it seems, to forever dwell in the substantial shadow of the late DISSECTION, NECROPBOBIC have been soldiering on in the face of a largely apathetic audience for well over a decade now, and with a new release imminent, I thought it a good a time as any to dive into their back catalogue again. The album reviewed here – 1999’s “The Third Antichrist” – is one of their stronger efforts and ample proof that these guys deserve more credit for their output.
This album saw the black of night (hey, this is extreme Metal we’re talking about!) about three years after the moderately average affair that was “Darkside” and from the first note it’s apparent that this is a leaner, meaner NECROPHOBIC – a little bit more Death, a little less Black, but vicious and dark enough to sate the needs of any extreme Metal fiend. Where “The Nocturnal Silence” and “Darkside” toed the line between slithering Black Metal and melodic Death Metal, a la DISSECTION, this album is comprised of crunchy Death Metal that maintains just the right harmony between slow, fast, and groovy sections, with only the raspy vocals being reminiscent of the band’s BM beginnings. The production is another big plus here, imbuing the songs with a strange yet fitting ‘warm’ vibe that allows all the instruments to breathe easily, especially the driving forceful riffing. The album is bookended by two excellent instrumentals that really set up a brooding, mystical atmosphere; the HAWKWIND-ish cosmic ambience of “Rise Of The Infernal” contrasts well with the lurching guitar feedback of “One Last Step Into The Great Mist”, while the intermediate songs rock out with great fury. “The Third Of Arrivals” perfectly sums up that patented Swedish Death/Black style, while “Eye Of The Storm” is a wonderful song with intricate melodies flowing nicely into crushing mid-paced grooves that bring to mind CANNIBAL CORPSE processed through a Black Metal filter. Really great stuff.
I still rate “Hrimthrusum” as my favourite NECROPHOBIC album but this one comes in a close second. A little less varied and atmospheric than the former album, but with enough heavy riffs and eerie melodies to keep me engaged, even after several listens. Pick this one up if you see it, and while you’re at it also track down some old SACRAMENTUM. Both bands are excellent examples of Blackened Swedish Death Metal that prove that the scene should be remembered for more than just “Storm Of The Light’s Bane”.
(Online April 9, 2009)