Necrophagia - _The Divine Art of Torture_
(Season of Mist, 2003)
by: Matthias Noll (8 out of 10)
Looking at bands like Gorelord or Wurdulak and the somewhat irritating fraternization of Necrophagia members with Norwegian black metal has-beens, it became quite easy to write off Killjoy and his gang. With Anselmo out of the band and the other members involved in projects that either never released anything (Eibon) or were located deep in mediocrity territory, I just didn't see it coming -- and the crushing impact of _The Divine Art of Torture_ almost did blow me away through the windows of my living room. Gone are the meandering song structures; trimmed away is the fat generated by too many breaks; and riffs that fail to totally crush simply have not been given a place on _TDAoT_. Whereas in the past Necrophagia have often tried to put a bit too much into individual songs, this time they rely on simplicity, and the result is devastating. My description so far might give you the picture that Necrophagia have just become simpler and groovier and lost the atmospheric part of their sound; but that is not the case, thanks to the totally effective, haunting keyboard parts that Sigh's Mirai has added to the grooving mayhem of Fug and Frediablo's twin guitar attack. Add Killjoy's insane vocals and a production that is as close to achieving the perfect balance between clarity and total heaviness as it gets, and you have a headbanger's wet dream of a record. Even if due to its simplicity the immediate appeal of _TDAoT_ might wear off after some time, Necrophagia's achievement of being able to throw all ballast overboard and just let it rip in the studio without losing their trademarks is simply admirable. Furthermore, in my opinion, the inclusion of keyboards makes them sound even cooler and more horror-film-like than ever.

(article published 16/11/2003)

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