Monday, April 15, 2013

Into the Void: Into the Macabre

Necrodeath - Into the Macabre (?/?/1987)
The album opens and closes with a creepy little musicbox number that actually gives you a good impression of what Necrodeath will be like. They're not going for the ultra-blasphemous silliness that would be implied by a down-pitched man speaking evil words, and they're not going for the epic atmosphere that would be stirred by an orchestral intro. No, these Italians are going for a horror movie vibe, and it's a nice change from what I've heard from Italy so far. Necrodeath are, like Mayhem, a functional trio, with one guitarist, a bassist, a drummer, and a vocalist. They don't use stage names, and they play fast and furious in a style that draws more from Bathory than most of the bands that we've heard from so far.

Ingo, the vocalist, usually barks out his vocals rapid-fire, like a slightly less intense Mille Petrozza, but occasionally uses studio effects to give his voice a more deep, evil sounding tone. Okay, I was wrong. Necrodeath does subscribe to the "pitch-shifted vocals = devil talk" philosophy, as demonstrated in "Master Tenebraum" and "Internal Decay." Because of the intensity of the music, it doesn't sound quite as silly as when previous bands have done it, though. The drums feature plenty of simple blasts and D-beats, and never feel like they're lagging behind. The guitars, on the other hand, while not sloppy, feel extremely limp, as though guitarist Claudio is barely touching the strings with his pick. I don't know if it's an element of his technique, or just the way the album was recorded, but I often found myself thinking "Just fucking dig in, already!" It's disappointing, because with a stronger guitar sound, this album could have been quite remarkable.

Necrodeath undoubtedly plays black/thrash music, clearly drawing from Slayer as much as Bathory. This is particularly apparent in "Necrosadist," one of my favourite cuts from the album, and "Internal Decay," with its whammy-abusing guitar solo. The occasional use of clean guitars and seemingly detuned notes helps add to that horror movie feeling. Album closer "The Undead" exemplifies the band's strengths and weaknesses, blending a great Bathory-esque out-of-control mess of notes with some tremolo guitars and mid-tempo thrash verses and a Slayer-inspired guitar solo for some evil times. Into the Macabre is a decent album that has been overshadowed since the day it came out, and is nearly unknown today.

Final Verdict: 5/10 - the strongest Italian offering yet, but still not great enough to be remembered much

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