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Necronomicon – Invictus

by Phillip Lawless at 09 February 2012, 10:36 AM

Will the real NECRONOMICON please stand up? Man, researching the history of this band is a difficult task. I’m seeing no fewer than three active bands that all share the name NECRONOMICON, and it seems there may be more than one NECRONOMICON in Germany too. Jeez… Anyway, what we have here is the newest album by a resurgent German Thrash band from the 1980s. “Invictus” is a modern slab of Metal from these long-toothed rippers.

Honestly a track-by-track breakdown of this album isn’t necessary because the 10 new tracks are very similar. They are all mid-paced thrashers, and each is four to five minutes long. Also included are a handful of bonus tracks: one acoustic song that is a throwaway and four live tracks from a Russian concert.

First, the good. This album features an admirable amount of impressive rhythm guitar parts. From lightning-fast burners to slow grooves, the guitar playing prowess on “Invictus” is evident. A few examples are the mid-paced chunk riffs of “Thoughts Running Free” and “Face to the Wall” and the IRON MAIDEN-type lead on “Upon Black Wings”.“Possessed By Evil” features a tough little riff as well. Further, there are a fair number of respectable solos on the album too.

Now, the bad. The most obvious thing to cite here would be the vocals. Freddy’s throaty croaks will definitely be a love/hate affair for listeners. His lack of vocal prowess is especially evident on “Before the Curtain Falls” – the album’s attempt at a Metal ballad. A string intro leads into a moody yet gruff sung section. While Freddytries for a sensitive croon, his rugged barks end up sounding more like a dying crow. Also, there is a note in the song that he couldn’t hit with a bazooka, and I found myself wincing every time he tried.

The lyrics he’s singing do not help at all. In fact, the lyrics are another sore point on “Invictus.” Most are unimaginative and derivative, and most songs are super repetitive.  One example would be the lyrics to “Thoughts Running Free.” I actually counted how many times the song title was repeated in the five-minute song, and the final total is 35. So, every 8.5 seconds the song title was repeated, leading to an annoying, irritating to listen.

Unfortunately, my final impression is not a good one. I struggled through the album multiple times, and I still can’t see anyone except for hardcore NECRONOMICON fans being excited by the material and performances on this album. As a long-time Thrash listener, I’m glad that older bands are now able to gain some recognition. But during today’s glut of Thrash reunions, “Invictus” is one return that may be better left ignored.

2 Star Rating

1. Invictus
2. Unleashed
3. Bloody Bastards
4. Thoughts Running Free
5. Unconquered
6. Upon Black Wings
7. Face To The Wall
8. Pandoras Box
9. Before the Curtain Falls
10. Possessed by Evil
11. Possessed Again (Unplugged)
12. Magic Forest (live)
13. Nightstalker (live)
14. Hills of Dead (live)
15. On Pain of Death (live)
Volker “Freddy” Fredrich – Vocals, Guitars
Andi Gern – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Klaus Enderlin – Drums
Andi Nial – Bass, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Massacre Records


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