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Necrophobic has always been on of the most consistent Swedish death metal bands, but that’s not what sets them apart from their contemporaries. What sets them apart is that they’re one of the first bands to pioneer the blackened death metal sound that’s so prevalent today. Many people like to credit fucking Behemoth for this, but fuck that, Necrophobic did it first and have always done it better. Their debut, The Nocturnal Silence, is a classic Swedish death metal album that masterfully takes their death metal sound and mixes in some black metal riffing to create a wonderfully dark sound.
This isn’t a “fast” album by any means. It’s mostly mid-tempo stuff, actually, but that tempo is what really defines the atmosphere in my opinion. The riffs here either of the catchy variety, the doomy, drawn out variety, or the classic tremolo-picked variety. The termolo picked riffs are the most interesting ones here because some of these sound more like black metal riffs than death metal riffs for some reason, and with the relatively constant mid-tempo speed of the music, they’re presence and contribution to the overall atmosphere is more noticeable.
Of course, another important aspect of this album is how melodic it is. There are a lot of catchy riffs and leads which Necrophobic heavily emphasizes by letting everything else take a back seat when they’re present. Seriously, this is some of the catchiest Swedish death metal out there! The solos are mostly on the slower, melodic side as well, with lots of emphasis on mood and very little emphasis on being “fast” or “brutal.” On the contrary, this album is about being evil and dark instead, which is why the black metal riffs work so well with the death metal parts of the album. Unlike bad melodic death metal albums, The Nocturnal Silence has the melody and and the soft interludes that just add to the dark atmosphere rather than detract from it. The melody here just makes this album sound fucking evil.
The vocals are another highlight of Necrophobic’s sound. They’re of the higher, raspier style (i.e., what you’d hear from a Florida death metal band), but they sound a bit more gruff than the most vocalists who use this style. Whatever it is, these vocals really work wonders. If anything, I’m reminded a lot of the vocals on Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness, which is a comparison that most bands should strive to attain. These are like those vocals, but more black metal-oriented. The vocal delivery on this album is really nothing short of stellar. Every line sounds genuinely evil, and this is the icing on this death metal cake of awesomeness.
I can’t help but compare this to At the Gates’ only good album, The Red it the Sky is Ours. Despite shit-tastic production, that album had a lot of basic elements in common with The Nocturnal Silence. The main difference is that Necrophobic was able to incorporate different influences to craft an entirely new, evil sound, whereas At the Gates let the melodic influences limit what they could do with their music. Sure, The Red in the Sky is Ours is a good album, but The Nocuturnal SIlence does everything it does, minus the violin crap, better. One important point of comparison in my opinion is the vocals on both albums. Both are very emotive, but the one of The REd in the Sky is Ours is a bit unrefined. Sure, that unrefined quality adds to the charm of it, but it doesn’t quite add to the atmosphere like the ones on The Nocturnal Silence do. Summary: if you’re looking for a dark, melodic, and fucking evil-sounding death metal album, look no further than The Nocturnal Silence.
Written for http://thenumberoftheblog.com/