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Necronautical - Slain in the Spirit Award winner

Slain in the Spirit
by Chris Hawkins at 05 October 2021, 1:05 PM

While England may be known more as a hub for a distinct brand of Doom metal, the Black Metal underground across the pond has been thriving for some time now.  Enter NECRONAUTICAL.  After over a decade of hard work and three full lengths, the band has returned with “Slain in the Spirit,” a fierce assemblage of emphatically ordered chaos.  Symphonic Black Metal is dangerous again.

The genre has been lonely for a while, practically begging a band to take up the mantle EMPEROR cast aside.  Many have tried, but none have managed to capture the magic and blend it with the technical intricacies.  NECRONAUTICAL, however, draw from that same well, the dark ether of forbidden erudition.

Unlike mainstays such a CRADLE OF FILTH, NECRONAUTICAL use orchestration to expand upon the riffs eschewing forth rather than letting the keyboards dictate the proceedings.  The result is a tight, at-times maniacal, symphonic sound that is very much Metal.  The intensity does not let up for the duration of these eight tracks.
The first track, “Ritual and Recursion,” certainly stands out.  Momentarily, there is an almost ANAAL NATHRAKH vibe conjured with all the layered orchestration and its demented bent.  As the album progresses, though, myriad twists and turns are taken blending brutality and melody, convention, and expression.

Such is the case with the second track, “Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination,” an offering that eclipses its former in concept and execution.  The main riff is based around an unholy-sounding harmonic, an almost-Death Metal approach.  In the course of nearly eight minutes, though, the roads travelled present quite the scenic view.  NECRONAUTICAL could never be accused of being boring.

The title track follows and features some of the most evocative, delicately laid melodies thus far.  In stark contrast, it also contains a massive breakdown as the centerpiece of the song.  While it may sound strange to hear of a Black Metal band throwing in blatantly kinetic riffs as such, it works for NECRONAUTICAL.  After a brief mellow interlude, a spellbinding melodic section arrives serving as emotional capstone and catapult for the song’s climax.  As a softly played keyboard sets the scene, female operatic vocals lead the song to a close, a highly emotive affair like the sealing of a tomb.

It is hard not to over-praise this album.  Its timing was perfect for I was perpetually snoozing, waiting for something to awaken the Metal within.  This corner of Metal, a hybrid of Black Metal, Death Metal aesthetics, and a bit of the Avant Garde, is too often neglected.  As a fan whose favorite albums include titles from bands like ARCTURUS, LIMBONIC ART, and of course, EMPEROR, “Slain in the Spirit” is a most welcome surprise.  It must also be stated how solid the production is – a perfect example is the fourth track and standout, “Hypnagogic”.  That is the song to start off with for anyone wanting to delve deeper into this album.  It is quite the journey.

Songwriting: 9
Originality:  9
Memorability:  9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Ritual and Recursion
2. Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination
3. Slain in the Spirit
4. Hypnagogia
5. Pure Consciousness Event
6. Necropsychonautics
7. Contorting in Perpetuity
8. Death Magick Triumphant
Anchorite – Bass, Vocals
Naut– Vocals, Guitar
Carcarrion –Guitars
Slugh – Drums
Record Label: Candlelight Records


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