Necromantia - _Ancient Pride_
(Osmose Prod., 1997)
by: Henry Akeley (6 out of 10)
It seems a bit odd that a tinny-sounding drum machine is featured on this mini-CD, since the EP is being marketed as some sort of tribute to down-home, ancient European ways. In fact, I was a bit startled by the overall character of this whole release, which feels like a real step backwards from 1995's excellent _Scarlet Evil, Witching Black_. Gone are the innovations and occult atmospheres that made that album so interesting. In their place, we get a flute, lots of mid-paced riffing on shrill-sounding strings, plus a bunch of extremely uncool symbolism and rhetoric about "the European consciousness." European consciousness, my ass. [Note (added 4/23/97): This remark was not meant as a sweeping insult to all of European pagan/heathendom, but as an expression of my strong dislike for the fascistic connotations of some of the ideas and imagery on this release.] Anyway, the four songs are quite simple, straightforward affairs, containing very few fast parts, fairly basic structures, and mostly mid-paced riffing. What black metal feel these guys did have once is now pretty much gone, and the eight-string bass sounds considerably less crusty this time around. Not that all that is necessarily so bad - it's just that I don't find any of the new songs to be particularly engaging, with the minor exception of "Each Dawn I Die". This one has a certain pounding catchiness to it, and -almost- recaptures the nocturnal feel of older material. In fact, it reminds me of some of the latest from Thou Art Lord, but it's neither as energetic nor as enjoyable. This release is certainly not bad, and the material is well-played (respects to Divad for some nice lead guitar), but I just don't think the music measures up to the band's past efforts in terms of originality or power.

(article published 16/3/1997)

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