All of the current members of NECROPHAGIA
have produced an album themed around occultist (among other things) Aleister Crowley. Death metal is their vehicle of choice for conjuring the mysterious world of the occult, and I set out to discover if their songs were powerful enough to put me under their spell.
The focus on Crowley lends a coherence to the album. While the music is often no-nonsense with simple melodies, the band manages to evoke an atmosphere of mysterious and magical goings-on. There are also touches of doom and melodic death metal added to the mix. Opener “Loch Ness Rising”
starts the album out on a slow, doom-like pace, while “Aiwass”
has some prog-metal-like riffs sprinkles amongst its entrancing percussion.
Simplicity is the main characteristic of HAXXAN
’s music, and the album has a raw, elemental feel. “Loch Ness Rising”
is made up of mid-paced grooves, with clips of Crowley reciting poetry. “Arcanum Arcanorum”
continues the mid-paced vibes; it’s a thunderous number enhanced by the harmonised growls and rasps by vocalist Killjoy
. The riffs never grow stale, overall, and when they aren’t particularly compelling – such as on “Chemical Perversions”
– the songs don’t linger too long. Songs outstaying their welcome generally aren’t a problem for these guys, and the songs are well-written.
Moments of melody appear at various points on the album. The melodic parts of “Loch Ness Rising”
, for example, contrast with the brutality on display. Harmonised guitars also make an appearance, which also adds variety amidst the heaviness of the vocals. The little quirks such as organ melodies add in a bit of playfulness amongst the simplicity of the drums and guitars. “Aiwass”
draws the listener in with its supernatural atmosphere, and closer “The Aethyr”
rounds things off well with its haunting coda.
There aren’t any glaring flaws on this album, although I felt that some parts weren’t really compelling. But overall, “Loch Ness Rising
” has well-constructed songs and some catchy riffs. It may not be one of those mind-blowing, shivers-down-your-spine sort of albums, but it’s definitely worth a listen.