Saturday, July 07, 2012

Review: Nekromantheon - Rise, Vulcan Spectre

Nekromantheon released their highly successful debut album, Divinity of Death, in 2010, which was five years after the band initially formed. The Norwegian trio soon after found themselves on the bill for some well known metal festivals that reached as far as the USA and the UK. Seeming to concentrate largely on full-length releases, the band have only put one split album between Divinity of Death and their latest effort. Will Nekromantheon's latest effort be in vain, or does Rise, Vulcan Spectre live up to the success of their revered debut full-length?

Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Indie Recordings
Release Date: January 13th, 2012
  1. Cast Down to the Void
  2. Blood Wisdom
  3. Embrace the Oracle
  4. Coven of the Minotaur
  5. The Usurper Command
  6. Rise, Vulcan Spectre
  7. Twelve Depths of Hades
  8. Raised by Dogs
Total Playtime: 32 minutes, 06 seconds




Rating: 10/10








Nekromantheon released their highly successful debut album, Divinity of Death, in 2010, which was five years after the band initially formed. The Norwegian trio soon after found themselves on the bill for some well known metal festivals that reached as far as the USA and the UK. Seeming to concentrate largely on full-length releases, the band have only put one split album between Divinity of Death and their latest effort. Will Nekromantheon's latest effort be in vain, or does Rise, Vulcan Spectre live up to the success of their revered debut full-length?

Unlike the debut album, Rise, Vulcan Spectre is shrouded in blackened thrash style and carries a malevolent tone throughout the content. The audio quality is also greatly improved and nothing is cushioned, though Nekromantheon have preserved the raw eighties thrash sound perfectly and the use of some of the best echo effects heard this quarter to reinforce this idea in a genuine manner. Another major point for Rise, Vulcan Spectre is that it's short and tight, being comprised of only 8 tracks. It doesn't feel the need to elongate itself with filler tracks or to rely on synthetic elements for a mood setter, and this makes each track relevant and all the more powerful.

When dissecting the innards that make up Rise, Vulcan Spectre, the atmosphere sounds like something you would hear on old Dismember and Death records, or perhaps even Toxic Holocaust (just a hundred times better and more sinister.) Those references could also go for the style of vocals portrayed which boarder more along the lines of death metal with thrash influence. The vocals also have the largest amount of echo around them, to the point that the words can be heard another time or two before completely fading out. This gives an authentic feel of the album being recorded in some damp, dark stone cellar or even a sewer filled with rotting corpses.


The drums also take on the echo feature, however it isn't as prominent as what is heard in the vocal track and it emphasizes the distant sound to the drums, which probably comes from having the microphones positioned further away from the kit. This works out in favor of Nekromantheon and allows the delivery of tight, fast paced and effectual drumming without having the track consume the rest of the content. The drumming itself has a wide range of rolls, fills and patterns that rarely are predictable, a good example of these traits would be the marching styled drumming of "Twelve Depths of Hades". This track also shows off the drummers ability to be just as effective during slower segments and work in harmony with the guitar.

On topic of the guitar, Rise, Vulcan Spectre has some of the most creative guitar solos ever heard in thrash metal. Not only are the solos creative, they're brain-meltingly fast and keep the listener fixated on the music at all times. The peaks of the album are also the songs that show the guitar talents off more, "Cast Down to the Void", "Embrace the Oracle", "Coven of the Minotaur", "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" and "Twelve Depths of Hades" all have some insanely amazing guitar work and the solos in each sound varied and unalike. "Embrace the Oracle" is full of standard thrash riffs and drumming, however at the end there is an unexpected whammy squeal that comes out of nowhere and is followed by one of the more stand-out solos presented. "Coven of the Minotaur" has a solo that holds its own as well, after the song embodies tremolo picking the structure incorporates this into the solo within as well before bursting into an unholy fury of frantic notes.

While Rise, Vulcan Spectre is quickly becoming an unholy grail of retro-thrash success, Nekromantheon aren't afraid to express their unique sound and vision in new and creative ways that are refreshing to the ears. There is nothing really negative to say about this release, other than the fact that there is an obvious underlay of rhythm guitars during some solos but this doesn't encompass the entire release nor does it hinder the material in any way and the band would be fully capable of still delivering the content live with or without a secondary guitarist. This album should be at the top of the "To Hear 2012" list for anyone and is highly recommended, especially for those in need of a unique and creative experience.

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