Blackened Death Metallers Necrophobic are veterans in their field. Bringing us aggressive and evil sounds since 1989 all the way from Sweden. Their eighth studio album Mark of Necrogram is their first full length since 2013 and follows 2017s EP Pesta. Scandinavians have a real magic for all things Black and Death, bringing us some truly violent sounds in a way that sounds purely Scandinavian. Necrophobic have come far to hone their sound and feel like a cross between Old Man’s Child and Thy Serpent with a little bit more Death in them.
Mark of the Necrogram starts all guns blazing with its title track and keeps to a relentless mix of blastbeats with a tremolo picking melody. Their vocals giving a rough presence to the music and heavily complimenting the aggressive tone of their music. At their height there is an effective blend of punishing riffs and hooking melodies. Like a lot of Blackened Death Metal there is a sense of presence to the music combined into a bassier aggression; this is certainly true here. The balance Necrophobic manage to strike is testament to their long career summoning the underworld. ‘Tsar Bomba’, ‘Lamashtu’ and ‘Requiem for a Dying Sun’ feel like some of their ultimate moments within the album. Really bringing their sound to the forefront.
For all the power to the album, they are by no means perfect. Necrophobic keep to a steady and effective sound, one they're very confident in, but one that makes some songs missable and generally the album sticks to its pure form. This will be an absolute delight to fans of the genre and extreme metal in general, but their evil wont spread far from the tree. This is not much of a criticism as Blackened Death Metal bands like to keep things this way, whilst some songs being memorable manages to keep the album from being forgettable within their genre.
The greatest variation accumulates towards the end of the album where slower and more melodic elements are brought in with more experimental and longer song structures in ‘From the Great Above to the Great Below’; whilst the album finishes with an experimental close that almost feels obligatory for many albums within this genre. It is, however, true to form and atmosphere and closes the album nicely.
Mark of the Negrogram, feels like a strong punch from the band. It is everything that we’d come to expect from Necrophobic and will likely please many fans of the band and the genre. Many songs are able to take the album from the average songs to pushing it to being an album to return to and therefore making the mark that Necrophobic are by no means dead.