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Netherfiend - 75%

dyingseraph84, February 8th, 2012

Since 1992 Gravewurm has been infecting the underground with their brand of minimalist old school black metal. Gravewurm is one of those bands that I instantly think of using the label “underground metal.” They, along with Deceased, Sadistic Intent, Acheron, Necrovore, and Crucifier (There are many others, but for the sake of brevity I put the ones that popped in my head first) all have a very DIY ethic and have a unique sound that refuses to compromise with any modern way of doing things.

I was surprised when the news of Netherfind‘s release broke. I was under the impression that the excellent Blood of the Pentagram record was going to be the last thing they recorded before disbanding. Thankfully, the press release from Hells Headbangers was incorrect and Gravewurm are still alive and kicking.

While Netherfiend is really just a continuation of the bands tried and true style, they have added a few new elements to the Gravewurm sound. Sure, this is essentially the same Hell Hammer, Celtic Frost and early Sodom worship, but a few new things like keyboards and lead lines have been introduced. Make no mistake about it though, this is music in it’s most primitive and simplest form with a truly dungeon like atmosphere that is unique to this band. No one sounds like Gravewurm.

The strongest tracks on here are the one-two punch of “Creature” and “Princess of the Night.” These are the two songs that stuck out the most on Netherfiend. Other notable cuts are”13th Circle” and “In the Gardens of Eternity,” the latter has this cool lead motif right in the opening riff reminiscent of Greek bands Rotting Christ and Varathron. The instrumental track “As the Abyss Commands” has solid riffs that will get your head nodding along to the beat and would be a cool show opener, before breaking into a faster number from that like “Blood” or the old classic “Nocturnal Inquisition.”

The only three negative things I have to say about Netherfiend are: I wish the drum programming was a bit more creative. I understand that this is minimalist music, but there are a few riffs here where I think that some double bass would sound killer underneath it. Secondly, I don’t think the last track “The Horseman” is up to par with the rest of the material. It’s not a bad song, don’t get me wrong, it just feels like an afterthought following “Creature” and “Princess Of The Night.” Finally, I wish there were a few more songs, I realize this is just an EP, but I’m already wanting more, which just means I’ll be coming back to Netherfiend for some more spins.

If you like Gravewurm then you will want to pick this up as Netherfiend is classic Gravewurm. If you’re new to the band, this is a good place to start, although you could pick any release at random and not come up with a dud, since the band’s discography is pretty solid, top to bottom. If you don’t like this band, or are not a fan of old school minimalist black metal that has it’s feet firmly planted in the first wave, you’ll want to avoid this. You’re probably also a fucking wimp.

Originally Written For
Eric Bocchino