Necrophobic - "Bloodhymns"
(Hammerheart Rec.)


MARK: 95/100



It's undoubtely a good period for death metal, no matter if USA- or Europe-styled, with a remarkable increase both as to number of bands truly into this style and, especially, to the quality of the latest releases; and this fourth full-length from Stockholm's mephistophelic act - their best ever - is a further confirmation; supported by an adequate recording at the legendary Sunlight Studios with the trustworthy Tomas Skogsberg, the opener "Taste of Black", "Act of Rebellion" and "Roots of Heldrasill"" in particular are halfway between early Entombed, Dismember and Unleashed, yet there're so many personal inputs that make the songs incredibly devastating and never boring. "Dreams Shall Flesh" displays a not too fast pace, though it will capture all your attention, make you bend with an inclination of 90 degrees, and finally force open your 'most precious ring' (read your anus entrance) with no mercy at the end of the song. We're in front of a mature satanic, well played and arranged death metal (not black/death!), the way I'd not heard for a long time (it seems to me to be a teenager again and re-live the wonderful years between '86 and '92...), dished with a wide range of different extreme fierce vocals, also leaving place for melodic arpeggios, like in "Mourningsoul". Moreover, not to be forgotten the MARVELLOUS tomb bridge one meets within "Cult of Blood", followed by an acceleration based on a quite inspired solo, maybe second only to the ones in "Hellfire", at some seconds even reminding some passages of the 80's Maiden! "Blood Anthem" emerges thanks to the original vocals, still aggressive, but various and used with intelligence and wish to experiment new territories.
The instrumental "Among the Storms" deignly closes in an epic and warlike manner this awesome CD, where you can never hear cheesy, repetitive, classic death metal songs. Necrophobic haven't forgotten that it's almost impossible to invent some kind of new style, but owing to their 12 year-experience that it's always possible, though rare nowadays, to start from the past and build up one's percentage of personality, keeping the necessary dose of brutality. A courageous, intelligent band, lucky to have two CREATIVE guitar-players and a death metal Singer who's got all my respect, since they have been able to achieve this enviable aim. Last but not least, add groovy lyrycs, booklet and 4-piece image, need I spend more words, guys? Anyone who knows me or has read my biography is aware of my deep love + admiration for Scandinavia (wait for me, I'm gonna move soon on to your soil) and Finland most of all, for their girls, (metal) culture, nature preservation, landscapes, etc., nevertheless to such a killer record I would've given the same mark even if recorded by a Chinese or Sudanese band, but dammit!, is it a chance or is it, as I believe, EXTREMELY significative that 9 Swedish death metal bands on 10 sound cool, professional, violent, personal and, like it or not, trace a path for the new musical currents that will become popular in the rest of Europe?
Necrophobic, will you reveal us your secret?...