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The new kings of bay area thrash - 94%

Visionary, October 6th, 2007

Ahh Lich King, a band I have been keeping my eye on for quite a while now. The band’s website may make the band seem like they have egos about 5 times larger than their heads but after getting to know Tom somewhat through a forum it quickly becomes apparent that he is quite the jokester and this cockiness was actually just mistaken for just kidding around. Today some bands take their music really seriously but leave no room for a sense of humor. Lich King successfully manage to create some serious music while retaining a sense of humor. Tom shows his love for bands like Municipal Waste, F.K.U. and Dr. Living Dead for their goofy lyrics, imagery and of course heavy ass kicking riffs to go along with it.

Of course the real heart of Lich King seems to lie in the bay area scene. The riffs have that sense of melody and a cleanliness about them that separated the bay area from the rest of the thrash world in the 80s. Void are the elements that made up the German thrash identity. There is no blackened vibe to be found here whatsoever. Bands like Exodus and Vio-lence seem to be the main influences here. Lich King even throw in some cool covers of these bands. What really impressed me about Lich King is their ability to stick true to the 80s roots while actually sounding entirely fresh. This is a rare feat.

The riffs have a very heavy sense of crunch similar to Demolition Hammer’s Epidemic of Violence. This makes them very easy to headbang to and I even had to turn my subwoofer down in order to hear the riffs properly over the pounding bass. Lich King mix up their riffs pretty well and thankfully don’t feel overly repetitive and monotonous like many bands end up falling victim to. Numerous breaks are included with Reavers being the best example of this. Certainly one of the best thrash tracks in the last 15 years.

The vocals are also something to marvel at. The vocalist doesn’t sound like he is trying to hard to emulate his favorite thrash vocalist or just fit into the rest of the bands. He possesses that something extra and really gives it his all on this release with his punkish shouts. The vocalist is also backed by some gang vocals that are just as exuberant as he is.

In terms of production, the band fucking nailed it dead on. Thrash bands are finding themselves on big name labels now but the problem with this is that I have heard on more than one occasion an album that could have been killer actually brought down a fair bit due to the production sounding to polished, taking away from that aggression that is so necessary for this kind of thrash metal. The whole production on Necromantic Maelstrom sounds razor sharp, gritty yet clear and has pounding bass. This is exactly how this kind of thrash should sound.

For the future I would like to see a greater addition of solos. They certainly show some real shines with this, especially midway through Thrashssacre. I really can’t think of anything else to nitpick at here as this one of the finest packages of thrash metal, a quality that has hardly been seen since the early 90s.

I recommend this band for any fans of Vio-lence, Evil Dead, early Exodus and the likes.