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NecroWretch - With Serpents Scourge

With Serpents Scourge
by Daniel Fox at 02 March 2015, 10:24 PM

"To blast, or to blast; that is the question"; French Extreme Metal berserkers NECROWRETCH are certainly here to blast the shit out of everything, again, and again. Moving on from what could almost be considered a Death Metal approach, "With Serpents Scourge" sees these crazy bastards adopt a much more grim and darker soundscape, adorning their frantic and frenetic riffs and screams with rough and raw, Black Metal stylings. DEATH meets MARDUK, or NAGLFAR meets GOATWHORE; I don't know, and I don't care; it's bloody spectacular.

This album doesn't necessarily push any genre boundaries or go nowhere where corpse-painted, grim-faced metalheads have gone before, rather it sits at the epicenter of the storm that results from the clashing of Metal's two most abrasive genres. "Black Death Communion", for instance, could have come from a MARDUK record; sure, the band sounds a lot like them (to me, at least), but I would prefer that one takes that as a compliment. The track adds intrigue and technicality to what is normally a boring, three-chord shindig and actually sounds terrifying, aided in no small part by the no-frills production, the bass cutting through with a leering sheen. From here on out, however, I can't help but shake the feeling of "same wall of sound, different track number", with tracks most noticeably set apart by their variety in speed. That's the amusing thing about this album: it's hard to find a slow song; they keep getting faster, and faster, and faster. "The Bells of Evil Schism", for instance, is one of the fastest-tempo Black Metal tracks I have ever heard, Ilmar's blasts reaching Frost speeds (let's face it; the man has set the standard for Black Metal drumming). This track also happens to contain the albums Thrashier elements, the guitars sitting on the line between technical and outright messy. That, alas, is what makes the track perfect, and the standout piece on the album.

Ending all too abruptly, what would follow forth is "He Thrones On My Sins", a track which I am teetering on the fence over. Undoubtedly, the band has mastered the riff, and they have perfected a craft; by this point, however, it just rather sounds like someone else's craft. I don't suppose that is a hard thing to avoid within the realm of Black Metal, however, unless you pull a DIMMU and add orchestral fluff and wizardly, operatic vocals to the mix to be just that little bit different. Naturally, it may be a fan (or the band's) right (or even proclivity) to disagree with me, but I can't help but pointing out what is rather a bit of a sore thumb. A foggy, moon-lit, mountainside downslope slip later, and we come to the closing track, "Mortem Ritu", and I can just about hear the creative juices flowing. Easily the most unorthodox track on the album in terms of arrangement, it is one amorphous, chaotic progression from start to finish, and contains some truly-fucking-excellent rhythmic sections.

A strong release indeed, especially if you are a Black Metal fanatic; if you can ignore the fact their shade of black is shared with a sea of other bands, you will likely find yourself getting a kick out of it; you can hear in the music that a bunch of maniacs crafted this vicious piece of work.

3 Star Rating

1. Black Death Communion
2. Feast Off Their Doom
3. With Serpents Scourge
4. By Evil And Beyond
5. The Bells Of Evil Schism
6. He Thrones On Thy SIns
7. Even Death May Die
8. Infernal Imprecation
9. Mortem Ritu
Vlad - Guitars, Vocals
Amphycion - Bass
Ilmar - Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records


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