Review Summary: 'Want some black/death metal? Do you like Necrophobic too? Then, this album is for you.
Apparently, this year we find ourselves in the fortunate situation of enjoying "two" Necrophobic albums. Of course, this is just a playful statement, but for those familiar with the work of the Swedish band, their distinctive style in melodic black/death metal can be recognized in this album as well. Here, we could witness the “renewal” in Necrowretch’s sound, since the French band has followed a different style before. Until now, death metal was their main component in their music, and the shift toward black metal first appeared in their Welcome to Your Funeral
EP, and now this shift was culminating in Swords of Dajjal
The album title and cover revealed an unusual thematic choice: the dark mystique of the Middle East (likely) served as the primary inspiration for the album's creation. For example, the name 'Dajjal' featured in the title represents the Anti-Messiah in the Islamic eschatology, an evil entity that is expected to appear at the end of times. The album also deals with a similarly unique theme in one of its heaviest tracks, “Dii Mauri”, which lyrically evokes the formidable nature of ancient Moorish gods. Personally, I rarely delve so deeply into the lyrics of an album, but the theme of Swords of Dajjal
prompted me to learn something new — which is a nice bonus for me.
Beyond the theme, the influence of the East is present in the music itself too, but in just a rather “decorative” way, such as oriental melodies played on string instruments and primitive drums in almost every track; plus we can also hear some chanting at the beginning of “Numidian Knowledge” as well. However, it can be stated that the entire album is built on extremely heavy riffs: grinding tremolos, some galloping, and, of course, death metal-style slicing, with occasional guitar solos. In this regard, while Swords of Dajjal
cannot be considered particularly innovative, but I don't think there was a need for that. The French band has managed to give a distinct character to this record with building a mystical and infernal atmosphere. Beyond the outstanding instrumental skills, the vocals also reinforce this atmospheric effect, as the band's guitarist/vocalist spits out each word with such fury... those screams in “Vae Victis” for instance, were really well executed.
In my opinion, Swords of Dajjal
is (by far) the strongest album in the Necrowretch discography, and this black/death style suits them very well. It's energetic and massive, though somewhat moderate in experimentation (considering the use of Eastern melodies).