WhiteWorm Cathedral



by Robert Davis USER (306 Reviews)
November 9th, 2014 | 5 replies

Release Date: 2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Three decades later and Necrophagia are still drawing from the same inspirations, but with White Worm Cathedral, the end result is as consistent and malevolent as we wanted it to be.

Necrophagia, arguably the ultimate "horror metal" band, have been going for 31 years now. Yet within that long stretch of time, the pioneering American death metal group has only managed to release a total of seven albums, produced over a shaky career consisting of one hiatus and more than a mere handful of line-up changes. Yet what has never changed is the band's ever-bubbling cauldron of inspiration, drawn from the deepest pits of hell and the darkest corners of horror's infamous bloodbaths. Witches, zombies, vampires, shape-shifting organisms, creatures from another planet and even a few nods to Lovecraftian tales of paranoia and madness have all managed to infiltrate Necrophagia's somewhat inconsistent discography. Fear not however, because latest album White Worm Cathedral is set to be the band's most convincing record yet.

From the very start, White Worm Cathedral is flung into the realms of horror and twisting, malevolent riffs which seem heavier every time they appear on the stereo. Opener "Reborn through Black Mass" is introduced via a group of seemingly innocent children invoking Satan before a swirling mass of slow-burning, crushing rhythms explode and flicker with hateful intent. That's what you should expect to hear on pretty much any other song of White Worm Cathedral, and though the musicianship here is more straightforward than it is daring, it always manages to develop a deeply seductive sound which is actually very hard to get away from once pressing play. The rhythm section has no flaws whatsoever: The riffs are deep and heavy, the bass thunders along at a vicious pace and each drum beat is as powerful as the next. But what really holds everything together is the amount of "horror" one can take from the experience. Necrophagia are no slackers when it comes to searching for horror movie-related inspiration, and that is proven to be here in spades. The band have taken things up a notch by incorporating keyboards, organs and female vocals (by contrast a beautiful aspect of the overall sound) so that songs such as visceral "Angel Blake", "Rat Witch" and the title track are all multi-dimensional, without ever losing the consistent flow.

It is easy for some listeners to get tired thanks to a sound which more or less sticks solely to the same formula, but when the musicianship is as effective as this, it shouldn't be glared upon as a flaw, more of a tick in the box regarding what should make up a successful Necrophagia album. Most songs here seem to have a slow-burning build up and because of that don't often explode into faster-paced territory, yet the heaviness of the rhythm section makes up for this, and then some. "BNN", "Coffins" and "The Dead Among Us" among others are prime examples of this, leaving "Elder Things" and "Silentium Vel Mortis" to pick up the pace when needed. The vocal delivery here isn't too much of an important aspect within Necrophagia's music, but on White Worm Cathedral does bring about a considerable amount of bitterness and hatred, and this is reflected from start to finish without showing any signs of stopping.

The album ends brilliantly with the mesmerizing title track. Necrophagia haven't ever failed to end things on a high, but "White Worm Cathedral" turns out to be a contender for the band's most atmospheric song, completely intoxicated by tinkling keyboard effects and ominous guitar chords, contributing the final ingredient to that ever-bubbling cauldron of extreme metal and horror. And that's essentially what Necrophagia's latest record is: Another career-defining, solid, consistent work which brings together thirteen tracks, drawn from one source of inspiration yet each performed to stand out among one another. Filler hasn't even got a place here, and that's why White Worm Cathedral is every bit as engaging as you'd expect it to be.

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user ratings (12)

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 9th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Album streaming here:

Nothing like a damn good horror-related death metal album on a Sunday afternoon.

Criticism is welcome as always.

November 9th 2014


Awesome review, Robert.

Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2014


Robert, add the bc link as well in your introductory comment, the sc links tend to expire after a while.

November 9th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Voivod, will remember for next time.

March 18th 2018



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