Can you say shellshock? Well, that's what we get with the newest NECRODEATH-release.
The historical Italian band is back (barely a year after what we can consider as their reunion album, "Mater Of All Evil") and the result is another tangible proof of their skills.
In fact, in my opinion "Black As Pitch" brilliantly holds the legacy of NECRODEATH's past masterpieces as "The Shining Pentagram" and "Into The Macabre".
For those who are new to the band, NECRODEATH is one of the best Black/Thrash Metal-acts to date. The group was formed back in 1985 and quickly reached a cult-status for the fans of the genre.
Musically, I can describe their latest release as a sort of SLAYER meets SODOM at mach ten speed, but even this definition (which would sound very complimentary in most cases) belittles the album, 'cos these guys also still retain the violence and sickness of the hey-days, while we can't say the same for the aforementioned bands.
Every song on the album is a sick sonic shock (that's alliteration, boys and girls) makin' its way to your jugular.v "Red As Blood" sets the path for the whole record, stunning the listener with its insane frantic pace topped by Flegias' penetrating yells (his vocal tone is resemblant of a screaming Tom Angelripper). But I don't wanna come into the details of each song, it would be pretty useless; as I said, all the tracks are worthwhile, and every other word is just redundant. Instead, it's interesting to notice how the songwriting is proficient throughout the album. I mean, ultraviolent records like the one we're analyzing here are often a two-edged weapon. At the beginning, they're stunning 'cos of their sheer brutality, but they also wear off very rapidly and, on the long run of their total playing time, they bother the listener due to the lack of variation among the tracks. Surprisingly enough, though clocking in at over 39 minutes, "Black As Pitch" never gets boring. In my opinion, that's the sign of an elaborate songwriting, and it's by far the principal merit of the whole record.
On the other hand, I dug up a couple of little flaws, too.
First, the production: this is overproduced. As for "Mater Of All Evil", Pelle Seather again engineered the work and I guess the band asked him for a more powerful sound respect the previous one. Well, no doubt they got what they wanted, but the resulting sound is way too huge to my ears, so it tends to tire the listener and flatten the songs. Sometimes, less is more indeed.
Second, the closer track. Don't get me wrong, it's very good as the others present on the disc; unluckily, it ends with a very long annoveration of the crimes performed by the church through the centuries (year by year!), narrated by an evocative voice on a background of noisy guitars. Tedious as hell.
Bottom line: up to now, "Black As Pitch" is certainly the best release of the genre this year, but the two said flaws subtract one point to the final evaluation.
Note: "Sacrifice 2K1" is a rework of the track "Eucharistical Sacrifice", already included on NECRODEATH's sophomore full-length album "Fragments Of Insanity" (1989).