Evangelivm Nekromantia, the new album from Dutch death/occult metallers AntropomorphiA, is a release which does everything right and you can easily admire for its craft and imagination. It is an album which leaves one satisfied in its company but ultimately just does not inspire any lingering passion or captivation for its accomplished and inventive sounds. Despite that it is still a release one can return to time and time again with a willing and keen enthusiasm.
Formed in 1989 (originally formed under the name Dethroned Empire) with the likes of Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Infernäl Mäjesty and Bathory heavily influencing their musical aims, AntropomorphiA spent their first years building up a strong fan base and respect through their live shows and the cult classic Necromantic Love Songs which appeared via Swiss label Blackened Recordings. Through member departures the band was put on hold around the turn of the century, with original members vocalist/guitarist Ferry Damen, bassist Marc van Stiphout, and drummer Marco Stubbe getting back together from their individual projects in 2009. Last year saw the band recording Evangelivm Nekromantia as well as re-releasing Necromantic Love Songs through underground label The Crypt in a vinyl package which also combined their first demo Bowel Mutilation into its body.
The new album consists of nine tracks, divided into three chapters of each three songs, which are lyrically driven by ‘nekrophilae, murder, necromancy, and necrolesbian lust’. The band itself said about the release, “We’ve been working on this conception for almost a year. Dedicated to composing a new sort of disturbing death metal darkness which exceeds most of the one-dimensional releases that you hear most of these days!” A bold declaration which the album does not back up in originality or uniqueness and up against some of the impressive and inventive genre releases to be let loose the past year, their statement does flounder. All the same the Metal Blade Records released Evangelivm Nekromantia makes for an easily satisfying and robust slab of death and decay, with venom and malevolence certainly not short in supply.
After a lacklustre intro piece the first full track Nekrophilian Mass agitates and caresses the senses with a caustic breath and energy. It is a slowly consuming piece of malice complete with a precise infectious groove and a toxic sonic grazing upon the ear. The persistence caustic presence brings magnetism to the track though again it does not burst with startlingly compulsive life. That is soon amended with The Mourned and the Macabre, and it has to be said the further into the album one goes the stronger it becomes. This bestial onslaught twists and turns with enterprise and impressive skill, its ravenous intent to stir up synapses and festering shadows an easy consumption to engage with. From the intimidating drums and predatory snarling bass lines to the air splicing sonics and guitar malice the track is a formidable adversary. The vocals of Damen are as malevolent as the sounds but are at times as throughout the album, submerged within the oppressive weight of the intensity too fully leaving lyrical clarity a wish rather than a given.
Into its stride the album shows its strengths through songs like Debauchery in Putrefaction, Fleisch, and Impure Desecration to just pick three of what are all pleasing corruptions upon the ear. Though none manage to spark any blazing fires within neither do they leave without ensuring some degree of admiration and pleasure from their parasitic senses erosive qualities.
Evangelivm Nekromantia is a more than decent album which occasionally leaves one breathless as with the excellent Psuchagogia, a track which just chews up imagination and thought, sending them spiralling through a maelstrom of mordant and dehabilitating erosions. There are few flaws with the release and plenty to praise and be pleased by, sadly though it just does not hold or trigger any real sparks to make it something more impressive.
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