NECRONOMICON – Advent of the Human God
Necronomicon, named after a fictional book in H.P.Lovecraft’s horror novels, are a Canadian seriously blackened symphonic death metal band from Quebec, Montreal and are among those promoted and represented by Jon Asher, the man without whom we would never hear of Sludgehammer, Medevil and BornBroken, to name only a few. The Canadian’s sound could be described as 90s Dimmu Borgir (title track) with brutality of Nile and Krisiun (Golden Gods, with arguably the best opening riffs) plus the vocals recalling early Randy Blythe of Lamb of God. The material is engaging, with technical and catchy if not melodic (Unification of the Four Pillars) structures most akin to Krisiun, most notably on the excellent "Crown of Thorns". Admittedly, it is nothing new but for what it is it’s well done plus the symphonic edge helps to establish identity. Well, in times, it also sounds like Fleshgod Apocalypse’s "Agony" (Nuclear Blast, 2011) what with the opening intro "The Descent" or "Okkultis Trinity", opening sequence to "Crown of Thorns" or even the title track, though not nearly as grandiose and complex. In fact, riffing sometimes appears simplistic and songs one dimensional, repeating the same sequence ad infinitum but that only seldom detracts or subtracts from the listening value (I – Bringer of Light, Alchemy of the Avatar) provide excellent closure as in the case of the latter opener, and, in any case, there’s plenty within to sink your metallic teeth into, which is exactly the case with Krisiun albums.
Occassionally, Necronomicon eludes the death metal cage as on the powerful "Crown of Thorns" where the verse riff has more to do with thrash than death metal or on the totally black metal title track. "Crown of Thorns" particularly in latter part evokes strong comparison to Krisiun but the keyboards help to dilute that association. "The Fjord" has a Sepulturic riff but it could also be similar to Criminal but it is not that far removed in structure from its predecessor, never a good thing on a death metal record. While the aforementioned instrumentals serve as bridges between barrages of brutality, the short instrumental "Gaia" is pointless in my book and brings nothing to the table even if it is a tribute to the Mother Earth. The aforementioned "I – Bringer of Light", the fastest and most dynamic track on the album, breathes air and variety with the same power and structure of Krisiun but, overall, the Canadians don’t seem to either possess or showcase the ability of Brazilians to execute that type of material in a mindblowing way known from records such as "The Southern Storm" (Century Media, 2008). Still, the song is actually among the best on the album, also reminiscent of Monstrosity’s fantastic "Spiritual Apocalypse" (Conquest Music Group, 2007) record. Again, the inclusion of the 1:09 minute instrumental of "Innocence and Wrath" Celtic Frost puzzles me for the point other than completely breaking the momentum. But fortunately Necronomicon ends in great fashion with the triumphant "Alchemy of the Avatar" which sums up all the best they are able to convey and present.
Overall, I feel this band has a lot of potential even if this is already their fifth album. I find that what works best for them is the merging of thrash and black metal elements rather than pure death, as showcased most notably on "The Fjord". Also, I would recommend either ditching the interludes or making them a part of a death metal track since we are so inspired by Nile to begin with in that department. For example, since the title track’s opening riff is a reprise of the instrumental intro "The Descent" why not make it one track. What is the point of stand alone intros, anyway, I’ll never know. As for Necronomicon, bands can evolve and improve even after many years and records, sometimes even totally outgrowing their past and setting a new standard for those they previously never much stood out from (Testament) and while I don’t want to sound like Elmo from "Elmo’s Christmas Countdown", I believe this is going to be the case with Necronomicon.