Review Summary: The best album Dissection never made.
Tobias Sidegård - Vocals & Bass
Sebastian Ramstedt - Lead & Rhythm Guitar
Johan Bergebäck - Rhythm & Lead Guitar
Joakim Sterner - Drums
Necrophobic was formed in 1989, taking its name from a Slayer song. Seventeen years later, after many label and personnel changes they released only their fifth album. “Hrimthursum”
which translates from Islandic to “Frost Giants,” is a slab of blackened death metal in the vein of Dissection, interestingly enough, Jon Nödtveidt appeared on “Nailing the Holy One” off of Necophobic’s “Darkside”
as an additional vocalist. Although dealing mostly with anti-Christian themes, “Hrimthursum”
also contains lyrics about Viking mythology thus explaining the name of the album.
Walking the line between death and black metal, Necrophobic incorporates enough elements from both to appeal to fans of death AND black metal. The vocals are a mix between black metal rasps and throaty, death metal growls, they aren’t too extreme and you can still make out what he’s saying. Musically, they blend the harsh atmosphere and evil lyrics of black metal with the technical aspects and musicianship of death metal.
Album intro “The Slaughter of Baby Jesus” starts with a crying baby (apparently about to be slaughtered) and choir chants that set an atmospheric mood before Necrophobic plow ferociously into the album. The following three tracks are the best on the album, delivered with crushing authority while remaining melodic at the same time, “Blinded by Light, Enlightened by Darkness” has a great opening riff that is very memorable and immediately commands your attention. “I Strike with Wrath” continues the sensory assault with relatively clear enunciation, “I strike with wrath, I welcome you all to my bloodbath.”
Concluding this outstanding triptych is “Age of Chaos,” with clear references to the album title, it tells of the giants rising to destroy the world, a much slower track but however it retains the heaviness of the previous two.
There are some incredibly melodic riffs, the guitar work is top-notch aided by solid production and a mix where everything is perfectly balanced. The first half of the album is extraordinary, it has an appropriately evil vibe to it and the first four tracks alone make this album worth having. The second half of the album is a little bit of a letdown with the throaty vocals wearing a bit thin, but the musicianship doesn’t falter. That’s not to say that the second half is bad, it’s just difficult to sustain the momentum built by the first four tracks.
Released shortly after the disappointment that was “Reinkaos,” “Hrimthursum”
is what Dissection’s final album SHOULD have sounded like. When you listen to a lot of death and black metal, at some point you get the feeling that you’ve heard it all before, bands playing the same notes with slightly different variations but every once in a great while, someone hits a note that gives a certain vibe and it hits you like a ton of bricks and while not all of “Hrimthursum”
is like that, those moments that seem so rare, make this an outstanding album.
Blinded by Light, Enlightened by Darkness
I Strike With Wrath
Age of Chaos