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Going into this album there was no way I expected I'd give it a perfect score. Every few months I go into this weird phase where I impulse buy anywhere from 3-5 death metal albums. More often than not it bites me in the ass. Sometimes I'll wind up with shit that I won't listen to ever again, most of the time I end up with some pretty standard death metal that I'll revisit every few months or so, and very rarely I'll find a gem like this that makes the whole process worth it.
Terra Necrosis is Nominon's 3rd album over a 14 year period. Formed in '93 we would not be gifted this album until 2007. The year they formed is important because their sound is very much rooted in the old school Swedish death metal sound pioneered by Entombed, Dismember, Grave, Unleashed, etc. However, unlike the constant stream of imitators, Nominon was not content to just retread their elder's steps. No, Nominon instead opted to take an old formula and carve themselves a new path with it, taking their sound into a darker direction than their predecessors, both atmospherically and lyrically.
The album starts off with that sweet buzzsaw guitar tone we all know and love. They cut through the silence with a fervent ferocity. The riffs pound along at varying speeds, but always maintain a haunting presence. Some songs like "Ebola" and "Hell Above" blaze through in a trail of aggression and hate, clocking it at only around 2 minutes each. Other tracks like "Among The Beasts/Ancient Slumber" and "Bane Appetite" aren't afraid to slow it down a bit (the death metal definition of "slow it down") and let the atmosphere suffocate you before bringing things back to skull crushing speeds. What little melody you'll find here is reserved for the masterfully executed solos. Just when I thought the riffs were enough, the first solo came in and left me speechless. They build on the haunting template the riffs set and bring it to a whole other level.
Vocally this album is superb. Very rarely are the vocals a highlight for me in death metal, but this may be the best performance I've heard since Like An Ever Flowing Stream or the old Death albums. They carry a terror inducing vibe with them. As if Satan himself is speaking to you through your speakers/headphones. And the best part is, they're varied. The vocalist does an exceptional job at keeping things interesting. He goes low, high and everywhere in-between, but only when it's called for. I never feel he does it just for the sake of doing it. The actual sound is a very raspy, thick growl. It's almost like a cross between Matti Kärki's bark and L. G. Petrov's haunting wail, while still managing to be it's own unique thing.
Lyrically the album takes the horror themed lyrics of their predecessors and puts a much darker spin on it. Often tackling real world subjects like Ebola, this is an album that isn't afraid to make you ponder the darker, more disgusting parts of life. In general the lyrics are less tongue-in-cheek than say, Scream Bloody Gore or every Cannibal Corpse record ever. Take these lines from "Black Chapel" as an example:
"Eat the flesh of Christ, drink the blood, swallow his life
Disciple sip the communion wine spiked with cyanide"
Speaking of "Black Chapel," it's the magnum opus of the album. Believe me, it was difficult picking one out, but "Black Chapel" takes everything that makes the album great and dials it up to 11. Bludgeoning riffs and haunting solos? Check. Pure evil yet interesting and varied vocals? Check. An atmosphere that makes you feel like the reaper is knocking on your door? Check. If you want to listen to just one song to give these guys a chance, start with "Black Chapel" and then inevitably buy the whole album.
I once had a friend tell me that any death metal made after the 90's wouldn't be worth listening to. That it would just be a retread of things that have already been done. Next time we speak, this album will be my belated answer to his statement. This album is everything you could want in a death metal album. It's disgusting, it's dark, and it's heavy as hell. Personally, I feel it surpasses anything Grave or Unleashed did and sits comfortably next to Left Hand Path and just below Like An Everflowing Stream. Don't take my word for it though. Give it a spin and hear it for yourself.
I must admit that with such killer albums like “Recremation” Nominon quickly became one of my favourite death metal bands. At least at the time of release of this album, which was in 2003 it really was something truly exceptional to get such an awesome piece of old styled Swedish death metal (something what nowadays is a daily routine – I mean to discover new band or release in this style hehe). Obviously I eagerly waited for next Nominon attack and it came in 2007 under the title “Terra Necrosis”. As always I wanted to get a vinyl copy and I got one. It was released by Blood Harvest and I must say that this label again proved to be a leading force in this style of death metal, picking up only the best bands around! Ha! Sorry, I’m wrong - sadly for them they never had a chance to release anything from Repugnant haha! Anyway, if you ever get a chance I definitely recommend you getting this LP, as not only the music shreds (yeah, it fuckin does!), but the vinyl is nicely released, with huge poster. So it one of those releases, which - if you’re into this music - should be highly sought after!
First thing, which I love about “Terra Necrosis” is the production. OK, it is nothing unusual, really, but I just like this classic Swedish noise! The guitars sound clean and have typical “buzzzz”, but they definitely sound aggressive and sharp enough to easily cut your throat, once you hear it. Well, no surprise – the album was recorded and mixed in Necromorbus, with Tore Stjerna – this guy long time ago got a reputation for great productions, not just black metal ones, but also some of the best death metal. And right from the opening song – “Release the Death” – “Terra Necrosis” slays and burns, crushes and devastates… It is wonderful. This first song has everything I love about this style – riff for relentless mosh, some faster parts, but also a short melodic piece somewhere in the middle. I just cannot resist it and bang my head like a crazy monkey. And “Terra Necrosis” just flows; track after track I devour this music and feel obsessed with it. It is almost pointless to mention what some particular tracks are like, as it is just pure, traditional to the bone, violent Svensk Dods Metal at its best, which would take most of its influence from the Grave albums, such as “You’ll Never See…” and also from some of their recent releases, plus I would also add the almighty Dismember, also from their recent LPs, but without such a strong melodic accents. Each song really hits my musical G-point, I love “Black Chapel” for instance, for its dark atmosphere and dominant slow pace. I like “Ebola”, as it is so fast and merciless like none of the old bands were back in the 90’s. Then “Among the Beasts & Ancient Slumber” is again classic to the bone, with just awesome, awesome riffs and vocal parts. Side A of the LP, with five tracks, went by really quickly, but that’s just because my whole attention has been putted on banging the head, rather than counting the minutes. What a killer stuff. And with side B it doesn’t change; no fillers, not time wasted for bullshit, no gay hole plunging or whatever. And I think I like ”Terra Necrosis” even more than “Recremation”, even if the previous LP was truly special, but in the purely technical aspects “Terra…” just has better song writing, better production, better feeling… Well, I cannot even pick up a standout tracks, as they’re all damn good, while on the previous releases there were two, three songs, which I liked especially and two, three that were less inspiring. Good stuff then!
I was blown away by their previous killer, Recremation, and this time around I’m nailed to the floor. These Swedish lads have created an utterly dark and hateful death metal album, ignoring trends and holding their heads proudly up in the sky as they dare to peek out of the mold. There’s a whole bunch of bands that are hailed for their old school feeling, while they’re really just re-doing what Dismember and Nihilist have already done. And while Nominon might not re-invent the wheel, they’re sure-as-hell not just another clone.
The brutal riffing definitely keeps it old school, but takes on more modern influences that I might even blame Deicide for, and I could probably blame Autopsy for being the models of dirty and raw aggression, after which Terra necrosis was sculpted. But amidst the ferocity and just pure aggression, there’s also a hint of melody that I’d say is unusual for modern old school death metallers. The tunes are varied and offers raging speed, mid tempo and heavy-as-shit breakdowns, seasoned with the pummeling, heavy-as-hell strings and oh-so-lovely vocals. Garptoft’s growling screams reeks of hatred, and is fits the music perfectly. The production offers a thick wall of sound that really lets the brutality take its full effect, and each and every riff just screams “I’ll kill you”, oozing of hatred.
They’ve definitely topped their old releases, and I don’t see how they could ever match Terra necrosis. But after the development Nominon have shown over the years I doubt they’ll disappoint in the future.
Originally written for www.mylastchapter.net