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What do we have here? A two track EP by Australian Black/Death/Thrash metallers Nocturnal Graves, eh? Yep, your ideas are thoughts on what this sounds likes are pretty much dead on. Necromancer is 10 minute slab of the bands standard awesomeness, with a cheaper production. The band sit comfortably in a middle ground between the grinding war metal carnage of bands like Axis of Advance, and the more melodic black thrash of Destroyer 666. It's a nice place to sit, as you get all the aggression that the bestial black metal scene demands, without the irritating downside of needless repetition and lack of variation thanks to a healthy injection of melodies and epic riffage.
There isn't a whole lot to say about Necromancer This EP is firmly planted in that middle ground too. The riffs are largely pretty violent, very thrashy in nature, with a not a whole lot of black metal influence in most of them. The production muddies the low end quite a lot, and the few more black metal style riffs, such as the one 2:10 into the title track, lose a little bit of substance, so it's a good thing that the EP is more focussed on the death and thrash side of the band. Despite the muddiness, the riffs are still surprisingly audible when played at higher volumes. The drums and vocals are the areas where the production really suffers. The vocals are really drenched in distortion and echo effects. This is something which carried over into the full length, the extra roughness of this releases sounds makes them reasonably unpleasant. The drumming suffers from the same problems as the guitars, a really poor low end sound, the snare and cymbals all sound good, but the rest of the drums struggle to make a sound with any sort of noticeable impact. Unlike the guitars however, extra volume doesn't help improve this.
The title track is more intense of the two songs the band offer, with a pretty violent section through the middle, sadly the production makes that part pretty hard to listen to, but the lead work is outstanding and is surprisingly unhindered. Rites of Necromancy demonstrates the bands heavy, mid paced side quite well. This is pretty similar to what would appear on the following full length album, Satan's Cross and you're not going to have any surprises, but what you do get is another great 20 riffs from Nocturnal Graves, nothing more, nothing less.