Necrophobic - _Death to All_
(Regain Records, 2009)
by: Mark Dolson (7 out of 10)
My first introduction to Necrophobic was in 1993 when I read a review of their _The Nocturnal Silence_ album in the good old Sounds of Death 'zine (now just "SOD"). A little while later I had the chance to actually hear the album, and thought it was OK -- it was pretty standard Swedish death metal for the time, but catchy and heavy nonetheless. I'll have to admit that I lost interest in the band until 2006, when they released _Hrimthursum_, an album that I thought best instantiated their somewhat newfound black/death metal identity -- an identity that was already beginning to manifest itself in some of their earlier works, such as _Bloodhymns_.

With their latest effort, _Death to All_ , you basically get a logical continuation of _ Hrimthursum_: fast-paced blackened Swedish death metal with melodic touches, although scant. The riffing is fast and features quite a bit of tremolo-picking (sorry, you won't find any heavy, chugging riffs here, folks), and is set against the pulse of barely audible bass guitar and pretty fast but not very interesting drumming. You won't find a whole lot of hyper-fast blast-beats, but you will find their slower counter-part -- the thrash-beat -- throughout most of the songs. There aren't many guitar solos, either; but the few they do incorporate here and there are sufficient to make things a little more interesting. I have to admit, though, that the brand of black/death metal Necrophobic play doesn't really accommodate involved and intricate solos. Apropos the vocals, Tobias SidegÄrd's dry and raspy screams are pretty much the same as they have been for the last four albums; however, you will hear a few Bathory-esque male choirs in the songs "La Satanisme Meurte", "The Tower" and "Wings of Death" -- which is kind of "neat", although not enough to really captivate my attention.

Admittedly, I was somewhat disappointed by this release. Sure it's fast black/death metal, but there's something missing here. I just think I've heard this all before with Lord Belial, Dissection, Sacramentum (cf. _The Coming of Chaos_ and _Black Destiny_), and especially Naglfar (cf. _Diabolical_). That I'm hard pressed to find any standout tracks on this release isn't really a surprise inasmuch as all of the songs -- across the album's 44 minute duration -- seem to blend into one another; however, I will concede and say that the song "Revelation 666" gets pretty interesting at the 2:35 mark: slow things down considerably, and some darkened twin-guitar harmonies make a fairly brief appearance.

If you enjoy fast-paced black/death metal with little variation and short-lived moments of melody, then I'm sure you'll like _Death to All_. Unfortunately, though, since I've been listening to black metal, death metal, and the various fusions thereof since the early '90s, it really takes a lot to impress me -- especially these days, when the scene is absolutely super-saturated with bands putting out mediocre material. Hopefully we can expect Necrophobic's next album to feature something a little different and a little more interesting.


(article published 8/12/2009)

5/25/2000 P Schwarz 8 Necrophobic - The Third Antichrist
3/16/1997 A Wasylyk 4 Necrophobic - Darkside
5/10/1996 G Filicetti 8 Necrophobic - Spawned By Evil
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