American progressive death metallers released a new EP on the 1st of January. That EP is the self titled Necronomichrist, released via Ninth Order Productions, and it is a cracker.
The 4 piece have been around for a long time. They formed in 2006 officially but releases have been rare. A debut in 2007 (Harlequin Fetus) and an EP in 2009 (The Intimacy of Armageddon) was the last we heard of the band until a second full length in 2014 (Apparitions of the Obscene). Flash forward 4 or 5 years and we have their second EP, the self titled Necronomichrist. Keeping the band going amongst other projects and real life has been a challenge for the band that consists of Bill Sawin on vocals, Pariah on drums, sampling and keys, Nathan Plummer on bass and Fat Lenny on guitars and keys.
Sawin is a military man and has been on tour in both Iraq and Afghanistan during the bands early years. Plummer is also an author of fiction. Pariah is a producer, session musician and teacher. He is also honing his skills as an independent hip hop artist. Lenny has been playing in extreme metal bands for over two decades with the likes of Deadfuck and Infant Torso Heap. He is also a talented artist and designed the cover of this release.
With so much going on, you can see why releases from Necronomichrist have been few and far between but here we are, back with another. Let’s check it out.
With the band/EP name and the first song title being Of Mud and Maggots, you could be forgiven for making assumptions about what the music style is going to be. Extreme, death, grind – something vicious and in your face anyway. You wouldn’t be completely wrong either but there is much more to Necronomichrist when you scratch below the surface.
The gloomy melodic intro of The Wasteland shows a band with multiple layers and depth the initial assumption would not have expected. The lead guitar lines nearing the end of Wield the God Hand shines through the surrounding darkness. The same song’s almost oriental sounding close and the gentle solo in Edge of Existence both add more moments of unexpectedness to send the initial assumption hurtling into the abyss of wrong assumptions.
That isn’t to say there is a lack of brutality here on Necronomichrist. Don’t worry extreme metal fans. This EP is jam packed full of ferocity too. Of Mud and Maggots is designed to rip you a new one with its vicious beat, throat destroying vocals and machine like drumming. It has a touch of deathcore to its delivery but manages to keep an almost traditional feel to it still as well. Wormwood is a speed riffing monster of a track with drum speed that beggars belief until breaking down into melody for a section. It comes back in with a slower, steadier section that pulls no punches. Even on the tracks that see the band divert towards progressive, the diversions are often sandwiched between dark and forceful riffs, guttural growls and thunderous drums.
I was expecting a solid death EP, you know, a good 7 or 8 out of 10. It is nice to say I was wrong. There is way more than “solid death” on show on Necronomichrist. Heavy as hell riffs, impressive drums and bass and powerful vocals make up the body but the EP is elevated by the little diversions into melody, solos, slow downs, backing sampling and general lead guitar lines that punctuate the heaviness. A very impressive and exciting EP from a band I hope don’t wait another 6 or 7 years before following it up.
Necronomichrist by Necronomichrist (Ninth Order Productions)