Necromass - _Abyss Calls Life_
(Dracma Records, 1996)
by: Andrew Lewandowski (7 out of 10)
Talent is required to intertwine unconventional elements into an extreme metal context, a talent which alludes many contemporary practitioners of "avant garde" metal. Many of the black and death metal scene's supposedly creative acts are simply unable to balance originality and extremity; bands either become muddled in their impotent attempts at technical superiority, or create a mask of varied instrumentation to obscure utterly simplistic song structures. All emotional content appears overly prefabricated as the music screams "pretentious" instead of "poetic." For the most part, Necromass' hybrid of death and doom metal side steps this black abyss. Although, some sections do not work; the choral passages are far more irksome than ethereal, and the meandering guitar solos (the second track, "Vibrations of Burning Splendor", contains one that lasts for a minute) are too obtrusive. Some tracks, especially the grand finale "Before to Obsess," sound a bit overblown. Worst of all, the Necromass vocalist calls himself Charles Blasphemy (on a less superficial level, he possesses a nice, guttural roar) and their rhythm guitarist goes by the name of Nachzerehrmara. When will these bands realize that every name used after "Dead" and "Euronymous" can only be superfluous? Back to the music: the riffing patterns are dynamic although still somewhat repetitive, yet from this repetition arises an effective tone of melancholy. The songs slash their way into one's skin before settling somewhere in the most sullen depths of the soul. The somber images evoked are fairly reminiscent of those created by Katatonia; in fact, the music bears a close resemblance to a more lively version of Katatonia. The addition of acoustic guitars are more effective within the context of a Necromass track than in many of their peers, and the surprisingly violent drumming (a remnant from their less sedate debut on Unisound) is a reminder that this is still a death metal band. Although Necromass fall victim to some of the usual problems, _Abyss Calls Life_ showcases creativity without neglecting to create interesting songs.

(article published 4/2/1997)

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