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Necromantical - 91%

UncleMeat, March 11th, 2009

In today’s metal underground, there are loads of bands with massive shitstorms of hype surrounding them, but very few actually have the substance to back it up. From the beginning, Necros Christos have set themselves apart from the pathetic mess that is modern metal, and this demo far from an exception. The atmospheres created by Necros Christos throughout their discography, and on here especially, are just otherworldly, and this is easily some of the eeriest death metal to have come out since the genre’s tragic demise in the early-mid 90’s.

Like all of the other Necros Christos releases, Grave Damnation has a very strong occult-inspired atmosphere, evoking visions of hooded black figures, candles, chalices, etc. One element that really adds to this is the ritualistic-sounding preludes placed before each song, creating a build-up effect that really works in their favor. Each one of these preludes, which they refer to as “temples”, is made up of slow, ethereal keyboard work, mysterious, reversed sounds and quietly growled satanic verses, which after about 30 seconds lead into a crushing death metal onslaught with a great build-up effect.

Right away, as soon as “Curse of the Necromantical Sabbath” kicks in after the first prelude, you have a general idea of what you are in for. Pristine production, catchy yet sinister riffing, excellent drumming and the guttural, unholy incantations spewed forth by Mors Dalos Ra. A short while later, darkly angelic keyboards come into the mix, but Necros Christos know how to use restraint, and only add the keyboards to certain sections for a climactic effect and to add some dynamics to their simple yet crushing death metal edifices. The tempo throughout the demo remains relatively slow to mid-paced, but the slowness is not overdone at all. The drummer clearly knows how to maneuver his weapon of choice precisely and throws in enough dynamics to keep things moving along at an interesting pace. The riffs are also nothing mind-blowing in terms of technicality, but here that does not matter. Their simplicity should not be mistaken for primitiveness or musical incompetence, as they are clearly intended to hypnotize the listener into a dark trance and to not let go, ultimately leading them to their doom once the climax is reached (every song on here has one), and they succeed in doing this perfectly. And what kind of demo would be complete without a cover of an old school classic? In this case, they cover “Acid Orgy”, by the mighty US black/death/doomsters, Goatlord, and they do it well.

This is an excellent piece of death metal, done in the vein of the ancients, but with a unique twist to it. Chances are you will hear what I mean upon initial listening of anything from these death metal masterminds. They took the authentic feeling of darkness that was once present in this genre, gave it a somewhat more refined and modern edge (but not in a bad way), and created something truly excellent. I recommend this, and everything else this band has done, to anyone else who is sick of all the horrible garbage being passed off as death metal these days, as Necros Christos truly are a unique band who stand out amongst the flock.