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Friday 23 July 2021

Reviews: Necrogod, Death Tribe, Crescent, The Hornets (Reviews By Richard Oliver, Matt Bladen & Alex Swift)

Necrogod - In Extremis (Transcending Obscurity Records) [Richard Oliver]

It’s always a reassuring sign when you see an album is being released through Transcending Obscurity Records as it’s pretty much a iron cast guarantee that you are going to get some top quality extreme metal blasted down your lug holes. In Extremis which is the debut album from Necrogod is no exception to this rule. Necrogod is a collaboration between the Sweden based Rogga Johansson (he of way too many bands and projects to list here) and Costa Rica based Ronald “The Master Butcher” Jiminez with Rogga handling guitars, bass and drum programming and The Master Butcher on vocals. The collaboration was born in 2014 and prior to this release has put out an E.P. The Inexorable Death Reign in 2015 and a split with Morbid Stench in 2017.

If you like gnarly old school death metal then this is an album that you simply must hear. Its sole ambition is to bludgeon the listener to death being a mix of the Swedish death metal sound with traits of the Florida sound apparent as well. Spread across 9 songs and 34 minutes is pure unfiltered death metal ferocity with the majority of the songs being exercises in sheer brute force. Songs such as The Brutal Path (Straight To Hell), The Obsessive And The Deranged and Moribund should come with a health warning but there is a bit of variety on this album as well. Remain The Same Again and When Madness Has Taken Control slow the pace down and replace the brutality with filthy old school groove and some absolutely monstrous riffs whilst album closer Transcending To Persist is equally at a slower pace but instead of groove it has a dark and foreboding atmosphere. The riffs and solos from Rogga are simply brilliant whilst the vocals from The Master Butcher are positively hellish.

In Extremis is a very dependable piece of grisly and gnarly death metal which, although with its moments of variation, pulls no punches throughout its duration. Not an earth shattering release but some very strong and dependable death metal which is perfect when you are in the mood for something violent sounding. 8/10

Death Tribe - Beyond The Red Light District: A Canal Experiment (Blood Blast) [Matt Bladen]

From the pissed off mind of Kaoteon guitarist Anthony Assaker, Beyond The Red Light District: A Canal Experiment is a raging, politically charged concept album that rallies at the oppression, manipulation and ignorance of those in power. Standing up for the environment (Crematorium) along with LGBTQ+, BLM, womens and refugee rights it's the music of a man born in the chaos of a war zone. Anthony was born in Beirut so he has seen massive destruction before moving to The Netherlands and it's this jaded world view that he's channeled through the complex musical compositions on this very good record. From the Middle Eastern floruises on The World Is Sick And Dying to the addition of Chris Baum (Bent Knee)'s violin on the destructive Schavuit and the melo-death offering Let There Be No Man.

There's a cinematic, collaborative nature to this record despite Anthony writing and playing the guitar here, as well as adding vocals on to two of the tracks, he has a stellar backing cast with the rhythm section made up of drummer Baard Kolstad (Leprous) and bassist Linus Klausenitzer (Obsidious) but Anthony has also brought in a lot of guest screamers to take their place behind the mic Gyze Hermans raging like Phil Anselmo, as Thrawa has a touch of Ihsahn about it, as Crematorium throws out a djent meets Motorhead sound, it's odd but it works. Each vocalist adds their own style to the songs they feature on but they all stay true to this albums extreme metal roots. Beyond The Red Light District: A Canal Experiment is a musically broad record ideal for fans of cleverly composed, aggressive music. Anthony's rage knows no bounds and has been distilled into this album. 7/10    

Crescent - Carving The Fires Of Akhet (Listenable Records)

As the Sun God Ra punishes South Wales with a week of unrelenting heat. The Egyptian extreme metal assault of Crescent rises from the Arabian Desert. Much like American death crew Nile, Cresent draw from the mythos of Ancient Egypt, though unlike Nile they hold the distinction of actually being from Egypt (though they are now based in Germany), they are actually in fact one of the oldest bands in Egypt having been established in 1999. Their musical style is much more akin to that of Behemoth or Rotting Christ taking a blackened death metal approach, rather than straight up black metal. It means that for all the tremolo picking on this third full length there are also some groovy sections and a diverse vocal delivery that shifts from screams to growls. 

The beginnings of the title track also highlights Crescent's other stylistic addition which is traditional instrumentation and symphonic stylings as well. For those wondering Akhet is an ideogram of Horizon and there is a windscreen sound to this record adding great thundering percussion to Moot Set Waas which is a tremolo picking masterclass leading into the thicker, heavier groove of Serpent Of Avaris. This is only Cresent's third album so they are an experienced band that are still only just getting their music out to the world (their first was in 2014) but Carving The Fires Of Akhet is probably their most accomplished so far! 8/10

The Hornets – Heavier Than A Stone (Go Down Records) [Alex Swift]

While the name of this album might hint that you’re in for something boisterous, gargantuan, and visceral, The Hornets sound, by contrast, is far more one of seventies glam-rock revivalism than anything else. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! In recent years acts such as The Struts and Creeper have become superstars for their unashamed Bowie and Queen worship! The question then is what set’s the Hornets apart in that scene? What gives them a unique flair? Well, upon a few listens to Heavier Than A Stone, the answer to that question has to be ‘very little’. Don’t get me wrong, moments like Superman and Rockstar’s Syndrome bear a swagger and an attitude that hint of an appreciation for the flamboyant rock of the ‘70s and these musicians are certainly competent behind their instruments, which despite seeming like the most backhanded compliment in the world, beats not being able to play. That said, nothing stands out about this band at all. Stefano Francia hits all the right notes, yet his vocals fail to emanate any power or emotion. 

The rhythm section, overseen by Alberto Francia and Andrea Rovituso doesn’t leave much of an impression on these songs either, serving mainly to give these songs a beat and doing little else. Giovanni Artioli, the guitarist, does make more of an impression, harnessing his ability to solo well throughout, making the piece more than just a range of four chord songs in the style of T-Rex. That said, overall, there’s little to really ‘sink your teeth into’ here. Retro acts are a fun and important part of today’s music scene, but in my opinion The Hornets have some way to go before they live up to the standards set by either their influences or their contemporaries. I hope they keep at their efforts, as there’s an undeniable adoration for music at play here. I just don’t see much reason to return to their debut. 3/10

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