Agonia Records (2012)
In a world of superlatives and attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome, it takes strong characters to defend your vision of pure death metal. Most new death metal releases sound overproduced in a way that makes it virtually impossible to distinguish guitars, lower drums and bass. The songs are all rhythm with the vocals aligned which results in concerts looking like Rap events. Vocal style has devolved into technique with singers more often than not smiling while delivering what should be forecasts of death.
Polish powerhouse Agonia Records release Necrovation's self-titled sophomore album to stem the tide. First listen, I thought I had pinpointed this album "Soulside Journey", cloned. It was all there, the cold atmosphere, rasping vocals, dragging rhythms. But a clone is just a clone. Uncounted listens later, I finally awoke and took heed: While groovy, the bass and guitar leads also correspond (dis)harmonically. The guitar solos aren't just exercises in chromatic scales designed to show off the ability of their executors, but vicious and complex (or chaotic, if you will) aural sermons, directly related to their surroundings. And the vocals aren't just technique or style, but vile, spitted, necrovorous.
Being mastered at Necromorbus Studios, I hear a slight resemblance to Watain's production, though unequally more subdued. Soli/guitar leads are relatively silent, sounding from the depths, demanding attention. Bass dominates, not in the choppy, hardcore style, but resembling old school death metal sound. The drums, though relatively "slow" for death metal nowadays, offer engaging patterns. Obvious rhythmic, "heavy" parts are seldom, which is why at the first listen I found the album a clone. Now it has been revealed to be a real grower.
All of this comes together to form a cold atmosphere which seems icy on the surface, but beneath it is chaotic and violent just like the gorgeous cover: a realm to be savored by the select few. Check out the rocker "Sepulchreal" on their website, now!
Rating: 5.5 / 6
Composed by Lennard Bertram