Monday, 25 August 2014

Reek - Necrogenesis (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 4/2/2014
Label: Bandcamp

‘Necrogenesis’ CD/DD track listing:
1). The Sound of Decadence 04:54
2). Violent Winterlight 04:44
3). Hypochondriac 04:45
4). Ethereal Shadows 03:13
5). Landscapes of Elysium 04:08
6). Human Condition 06:18
7). Pernicious Gerontophiliac Commitment 03:52
8). Babidi Resurrection 02:52
9). Scions of the Void 11:50

The Band:

Oscar Naranjo | Drums
Sergio López | Bass
Oriol Pérez | Guitar
Gerard Torà | Guitar
Iván Lara | Vocals


This album does so many things right. Kinetic, melodic and technical without being pretentious, occasionally menacing thrash with some melodic death tendencies and even a hint of Marduk-esqe rawness from time to time. A 5-piece from Catalonia breaking necks and sewing them back on with a pretty clever blend of precision and out-of-control.

Necrogenesis is their first full-length, following up 2012's EP ‘Rubbish Through Your Veins’.

It takes a second to get going -the intro approaching slightly cheesy violation levels- but you will be rewarded for your patience with some intricate bass work leading up to the beginning of the song proper, where it takes off. The speed of the main riff of ‘The Song of Decadence’ combined with the constantly-in-danger-of-caterwaul guitars give it a great feel of being barely able to hang on, one that only rarely lets up throughout the faster parts of the album and absolutely enhances the perceived sense of speed. Lyrical themes of decadence leading to ruin, emptiness. Ripping twin solos and a quickstep run through the main riff before the song ends abruptly and jumps into ‘Violent Winterlight’, an tempo-shifting blackening of their sound with some rawer elements and slightly harsher vocals. 

Things slow down a bit for ‘Hypochondriac’, before jumping headlong into hyperspeed after the hook…this only lasts a few measures before shifting back into the deliberate riffing of the verse. After a repeat of the little chorus/rest it ramps up into an almost entirely different tune, though, shredding through a forceful lead that devolves into a wicked rapidfire until a hypnotic riff ends the song. The lyrics for this one were easily my favourite despite being delivered in a less intense manner than the rest of the songs, which I think is a little to their detriment.

The instrumental pair ‘Ethereal Shadows’ and ‘Landscapes of Elysium’ (acoustic and electric respectively) are pretty, if a bit tangled; at some points the lead guitar seems to get a little lost in its more florid moments but the electrified half of this duo is a solid halfway point that is pleasant even though it isn't necessarily groundbreaking. These two tracks do, however, sum up what can be occasionally disappointing about this whole album: the sense of it all having been done before, and in how they try a bit too much to be technical and "progressive" and the ferocity of it all suffers in those moments. They frequently pick the scalpel when they're just so fucking good with a hammer!

After the instrumental section, ‘Human Condition’ jump starts the thrash again but this was one of my least favourites, as it didn't really have the urgency, the "push" the others up to this point had, but all that changes for the totally absurd ‘Pernicious Gerontophiliac Commitment’. Relentless, if not full-blast, this is the tale of a man that manipulates dying elderly women into sex….until one gets hip and chops his cock off. By turns oddly classy (they call IT 'the spear'), and crass and unintelligible ("the dude passed out with his pants on ankles"), this is hands down the oddest track of the bunch. 

‘Scions of the Void’, the last cut on the record, shows some provocative and compelling angles in a 12 minute sludgy post-metal exercise where they combine their thrash sentiment with an ugly aggressive edge.  Bridging the gap between raw speed and a subterranean depth is nothing more than a sudden halt. Feedback fades out into a melodic, chill build-up into some surprisingly epic spaced out doom that swells into a crushing breakdown.  A series of short blasts of spine-snapping speed that start and stop on a dime adds a severe tension to the atmosphere it had built until a minute long fadeout into an ambient drone and sparse samples close the album in a cloak of finality that makes for a great ending to a totally fun listen. This beast does by no means reinvent the wheel (what thrash does, really? Isn't that not at all the point of the genre?) but it does combine some innovation with tradition to give an excellent and properly heavy retelling of the genre's classic story: shit sucks and it's only getting worse, banging your head is the only cure.

RIYL: Toxik, Vektor etc etc

Words by: James Harris

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