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Necros Christos – Domedon Doxomedon

Necros Christos
Domedon Doxomedon
by Alexis Lareine at 14 May 2018, 6:39 PM

“Domedon Doxomedon” is the third and supposedly final full-length album from German black metal band NECROS CHRISTOS. They’ve been extremely active since their formation in 2001, releasing numerous demos, Eps, and splits before finally releasing their first full-length in 2007. This album is, in actuality, 3 albums put into one, clocking in at 27 tracks and 112 minutes long.

I’ll start by saying this: it takes balls for a band to release a 112-minute long album. There need to be some top-notch songs to justify having 27 of them in one release. My first impression of this band is that they take themselves VERY seriously. On their social media biographies and their infosheet, they use many extravagant descriptors: “some of the most dark yet epic Death Metal ever” is only the beginning. “If your soul survives a complete listening of mindblowing tracks. . . without being dragged into the abysmal regions of hell, your senses will be left in disbelief.” Strong words. NECROS CHRISTOS seem to think very highly of themselves, and for my sake, as one who must listen to all 112 hours of this music in order to review it, I hope the music lives up to the self-hype.

To be completely honest, something really rubs me the wrong way when they talk about the “modern zeitgeist of music with all its fake easy listening productions”. It has an off-putting, “Catcher in the Rye” vibe to it. When I hear metal fans and musicians say something along these lines, my eyes tend to roll into the back of my head. Modern metal is just as innovative and interesting as old-school metal – you just have to look in the right places. It just reminds me too much of a political attack ad; instead of telling me why everyone else sucks, just show me what makes you better. Now. Onto the music.

The first album, “Ith”, opens with an atmospheric intro with ritualistic chanting of the album title overtop. Demonic-sounding, raspy speaking enters as another layer, chanting to a god for power: good old-fashioned black metal intro material. “I Am Christ” opens with a progression of 7th chords, nothing out of the ordinary, yet slightly unsettling. When the riff finally drops, the vocals enter with it – more of a guttural speaking than anything. The riff gets really groovy at times, with the drums alternating between blazing double kicks and a pattern to accent the groove. The lead guitar line is pleasantly melodic. This is proving much more melodic and easier listening than a lot of black metal I’ve heard. The production leaves a lot to be desired, but it is still infinitely better than a lot of other black metal sounds out there. The guitars are clear and discernable; the snare has a nice crack to it, and the kick has a great click and body to it. A lot of the sections tend to drag – they do little to progress and develop, and they don’t need to be repeated as much as they are. There’s an unexpected tambourine just before the 9th minute; I love when a band surprises me, and the tambourine is unexpected and manages to not be cheesy. There’s another unexpected breakdown-type section at 9:30, complete with some seriously guttural growls breaking up the higher, raspy grunts from Mors Dalos Ra. The lyrics tend to err on the cheesy side; normally I don’t comment too much on lyrics unless they’re noticeable in some way or other, and in this case sometimes the cheesiness really stands out.

“Gate of Sooun” is an instrumental track featuring a sitar, another unexpected element, with the guitar intertwining with it in small legato phrases. The guitar phrases begin to build pleasantly in tension in the second minute for a moment, to quickly descend back into the lower range by the end. A quick chime comes in to close out the second. This track is one of the highlights on the album – it’s overall very relaxing to listen to and just a beautiful instrumental interlude. “Temple II: Cistern of Bethlehem” is more atmosphere with ritualistic chanting on top. The presence of chimes and an aurally pleasing progression makes this one a much easier yet more interesting listen than the intro track. Tombstone Chapel opens with a burst of energy from the drums. Listening to solo drums, it sounds like they have a bit too much reverb on them, but that’s typical of black metal music. The track itself is very similar to “I Am Christ”: melodic yet heavy, with a lot of very groovy sections. The short lead guitar sections are very clean and melodic, but at times they are so simplistic that they toe into boring territory. The riff that closes out the last minute of the song is simple but extremely catchy, and the lead guitar line on top complements it perfectly. “Gate of Damihyron” is another instrumental interlude and opens with piano and organ, with an intriguing, haunting progression. I wish they had changed it up just a bit – the entire track is the same phrase repeated over and over with no progress or change. It has a very foreboding sound to it though.

“Temple III: Helper of YHVH” is 40 seconds of atmospheric noise. Honestly, I don’t see the significance of the track. “He Doth Mourn in Hell” is the heaviest track so far – the intro has a very MORBID ANGEL feel to it. After the intro, the energy picks up. This track really gives you a change to marvel at how tight Ivan’s drumming is – the double kicks are spot-on. Again though, this track reminds me a lot of the other two full songs. I’m not sure if this was intended by the band, but I wish they would change up the feel of the full songs more. The short instrumental interludes vary so much in sound, feel, instrumentation, but all of the songs seem to sound the same. The guitar solos on this track are, again, super melodic, and they build and release wonderfully. The lead guitar lines all have a very nice tone to them – very full and just distorted enough. The vocals on these songs have remained very static: all one tone for the most part with simple, predictable vocal patterns except during some of the groovier sections. The last song of the first album is a two-minute long atmospheric interlude with, you guessed it, ritualistic chanting. The chimes and sitar are back, and I really love the presence of the flute here. After finishing album number one, I get the impression that a lot of the songs don’t need to be nearly as long as they are. But there are a lot of sections that are enjoyable to listen to. The instrumental tracks, in particular, are the highlights of the album. Now. Onto album #2.

The second album, “Seth”, opens with more atmospheric noise, and I think that it’s going to be one of the tracks that is pure atmosphere the entire way through. I am proven completely wrong when a heavy, distorted as hell riff comes in, with intermittent grunts from Mors on top. “Seven Altars Burn in Sin” is a 12-and-a-half minutes long. It does not need to be. The first two minutes consist of simple but catchy riffs. But these riffs don’t grow or develop – it’s essentially one riff repeated over and over, then another riff repeated over and over. The riff that the vocals enter with is very groovy and catchy. The drums vary enough to keep it interesting. The cymbalwork over some of this section is really fantastic and keeps it interesting. The lead guitar line that enters at 3:36 is catchy as hell, and when the harmony comes in that turns into an octave, it really becomes the highlight of the song.

The first and second half of this track are really two different songs. In the 6th minute, the music completely halts, and then a clean guitar section enters. The section is really beautiful: an acoustic guitar enters with a simple lead guitar line on top. The lead guitar stays very simple but clean, but at 8:10 it really picks up it starts to develop, and a gorgeous, heart-wrenching harmony enters at 8:20. The second half of this solo section is the best part of the song. The solo continues, and some unexpected finger-tapping closes out the section at 9:30. You know I love when a band can surprise me, and the second half of that guitar solo was a great developmental surprise. To be honest, the song could have just ended on that fantastic note, but another section enters: another slow, overly simplistic section that continues until the end of the song. It’s really just not interesting or catchy enough to warrant following up that guitar solo and closing out the song. I think this track is a really great representation of what the band is all about: it has the vocal styling I’ve come to expect, some groovy riffage, and the super clean guitar solo that just builds so dramatically in the second half. “Gate of Arba-Hemon” is another unexpected turn for the instrumental tracks. This one features flamenco-style acoustic guitar with lead guitar on top. It really solidifies the fact that these instrumental interludes are the definite highlights of the album. These tracks are so versatile and fun to listen to, and they’re completely unexpected on a blackened death metal album.

“Temple V: Bereshit” is another atmospheric track, and it’s another one that doesn’t really need to be there: the album doesn’t benefit from it; it doesn’t progress anything further. “Exiled in Transformation” is another full song. It’s much like the other full songs: super simple but catchy riffs, some with a nice groove to it, the vocals the same all throughout. There is little development within each riff – it’s just a riff repeated exactly the same way several times, then another riff repeated exactly the same way several times. The guitar solo sections are always the highlight of these tracks. The solos on this track stick to that pattern; the solos are all very melodic and clean and progress in an aurally pleasing manner. The riff that closes out the song after the last solo is heavy as hell; it’s very doom metal – slow and sludgy, simple. Finally, there is some great variation in the vocals – they get almost guttural in this section. “Gate of Behet-Myron” is *insert drumroll* an atmospheric track, but a very entrancing one; the intervals are beautiful, and it’s definitely one of the better ones on the album. “Temple VI – Weight of Gold” is another one-minute instrumental track. It’s a simple track with arpeggios on one guitar and a chord progression in the upper register of the other guitar.

“The Heart of King Solomon in Sorcery” is a full song. The opening riff is a nice change-up from the rest of the song, pivoting off of the open bottom string, and the next riff is a super primal, minimalistic, groovy riff. This one is already my favorite full song on the albums so far. The next section is very high-energy, and the guitar solos are, again, very clean and melodic and fun to listen to. That extremely heavy riff returns and actually develops into the 4th minute. The drums really get to shine in this section with the cymbalwork working perfectly with the toms. A sudden feel change happens, with the sitar returning and a short guitar solo following. The sitar was a great surprise, as it’s only been present on the instrumental tracks so far. The way this song grows and develops is exactly what I’ve been waiting for through the first half of these three albums. However, when the ritualistic chanting returned in the 8th minute, it actually drew a sigh for me. I absolutely get the vibe they’re going for, but how much ritualistic chanting do you really need over the course of an album? It seems like these albums have a very disproportionate amount of chanting.

“Gate of Salum” is a simple instrumental piano track. The music itself is very foreboding: lots of chromaticism and minor 2nd intervals. This is a great way to end the second album, and it really sets up the listener for the final album. The third and final album in this set, “Tei”, open with “Temple VII: Alive in Sheol”. This is an instrumental track, another flamenco-influenced interlude. It’s one of my favorite instrumental tracks on the album, even featuring some counterpoint on the guitars near the end. “The Guilt They Bore” is immediately a heavy-hitter. It opens with a simple but heavy as hell riff, complete with a semi-goofy “Bleh!” from the vocalist. This is another deviation from the other full songs on the album; the second riff features switches between hammer-ons and pull-offs and a variation of that riff simply picked, and it’s a bit of a breath of fresh air because it’s so different from the other riffs on the previous full songs. There’s a lot of energy in this song. The bass also gets to shine a bit in this one: it carries the melody at times and has a few solo moments. The guitar solo is also very dynamic despite its simplicity, and it even features some whammy fun at the end. The last riff just punches you in the face (in a positive way) – the feel change comes completely out of nowhere, and it’s one of the heavier parts of the album. “Gate of Jehudmijron” is another atmospheric track with more chanting. And it really doesn’t do anything to push the album along. It’s just there. But it’s very characteristic of black metal.

“Temple VIII – Smoke in Fire” immediately captures my attention. It’s another instrumental track, featuring counterpoint between three clean guitars. This one is the best track on the album; it’s just gorgeous and definitely not something you’d expect on a death metal album. It transitions immediately into “Exodos”, a full song that kicks in your door and rips your face off. The intro is so heavy, with the simple heavy vocals accenting it perfectly. A groove kicks in at 1:00, with a change in the drum pattern to complement the groove and developing, adding a snare hit on every beat. The song progresses fantastically. The vocals also veer into guttural territory at times. This set of albums really seem to get better as it goes. At 2:40, another feel change happens suddenly with the entrance of the clean, melodic guitar solo. However, it starts to drag about 3-and-a-half minutes in. The energy picks up again in the 5th minute, and the groove returns at 6:00. Just before the 7th minute, the music halts, and lead guitar over atmospheric sound comes in. It’s really like another song is beginning. The very simplistic groove returns. Through the last two minutes, it begins to drag again; while there are some very hard-hitting, high-energy moments, the song really doesn’t need to be as long as it is. “Gates of Dimitrijon” is a track out of a horror movie. It’s an instrumental piano track, again very haunting with chromaticism and minor 2nd intervals. “Temple IX: Redeemer to Zion” features the return of the tambourine, along with a choral track underneath more ritualistic chanting.

“In Meditation on the Death of Christ” clocks in at 14 minutes, and it goes right into another simply brutal riff that develops a bit with the help of the changing drum patterns. I really wish these riffs developed more, because they’re very catchy and heavy, but they essentially stay the same and are just repeated verbatim. The drums do get a chance to shine on this song: the patterns change pretty constantly and showcase the range and versatility of Ivan’s drumming. The riff that enters at 5:30 brings more intrigue into the song; it’s the only not-straightforward riff on the album. You barely have time to process it when a sudden feel change forces its way in. At 8:30, atmospheric noise takes over, then tremolo-picking guitars enter on top. This is another song that has brutal, interesting parts, but it definitely does not need to be 14 minutes long. Unexpected clean female singing enters before the guitar solo drops, and it opens with a flurry of shreddiness that hasn’t been present in most of the other solos. It’s a great change-up from the super simple, melodic lines of the other solos. The song definitely begins to drag again in the 12th minute through the end. The very last track is “Gate of Ea On”. It opens with more atmospheric noise until more flamenco-style guitars enter. It’s very enjoyable to listen to, and it’s a nice palate cleanser from the last 14 minutes of simple black metal.

Each of these three albums have great qualities to them – they just need to be experienced separately as opposed to all in one go. They are much more enjoyable in increments. As a listener, I would have received these much better if they had been released separately. The production was really good compared to other black metal albums: the guitar tones were clear, audible. The solos were so melodic and clean. The drum mix was great as well: the snare had a nice crack, and the kick had a great click and body to it. Everything sat well together – the bass had room to breathe. The instrumental tracks were the best part of the album: they were all very distinct and versatile in their instrumentation. I actually really enjoyed the pattern of short instrumental tracks interchanging with full blackened death metal songs. A lot of the full songs didn’t need to be as long as they did, and a lot of the riffs didn’t see much development or progression to move the song forward. There was a lack of flow present between some riffs, but there was a lot of just meaty, aggressive riffage throughout.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 7
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Ith
  1. Temple I: The enlightenment will shine like the Zohar of the sky (Daniel 12:3)
  2. I Am Christ
  3. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Sooun
  4. Temple II: Who will get me a drink of water from the Cistern of Bethlehem? (2 Samuel 23:15)
  5. Tombstone Chapel
  6. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Damihyron
  7. Temple III: Unless YHVH had been my help, my soul would soon have dwelt with Dumah (Psalms 94:17)
  8. He Doth Mourn in Hell
  9. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Aion Tsevaoth
Seth
  1. Temple IV: Oracle of the man whose eye is open (Numbers 24:3)
  2. Seven Altars Burn in Sin
  3. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Arba-Hemon
  4. Temple V: Bereshit (Genesis 1:1)
  5. Exiled in Transformation
  6. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Behet-Myron
  7. Temple VI: The weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold (1 Kings 10:14)
  8. The Heart of King Solomon in Sorcery
  9. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Sulam
Tei
  1. Temple VII: They and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol (Numbers 16:33)
  2. The Guilt They Bore
  3. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Jehudmijron
  4. Temple VIII: Mount Sinai was all in smoke for YHVH had descended upon it in fire (Exodus 19:18)
  5. Exodos
  6. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Dimitrijon
  7. Temple IX: A redeemer will come to Zion (Isaiah 59:20)
  8. In Meditation on the Death of Christ
    a. Adam of Darkness
    b. Eve in Damnation
    c. Seth of Death
    d. Maryam Tsiyyon
    e. Maryam Magdala
    f. Maryam Tessone
    g. Messiah of Avaddon
    h. The Blood of Christ in Armageddon
    i. One Lord is Gone, One Lord Shall Come
  9. \[And they call this] gate: Gate of Ea On

Lineup:
Mors Dalos Ra – Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
The Evil Reverend N. – Guitars
Ivan Hernandez – Drums
Peter Habura - Bass
Record Label: Sepulchral Voice Records
     


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Edited 07 April 2020
 

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Yiannis Mitsakos

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