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Idiosyncratic concept - 73%

Felix 1666, April 4th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2011, CD, Scarlet Records

Four posh Italians try to impress us with thrash metal. I do not know who gave permission for this cover. But never mind, because there are more important things than the fairly strange cover artwork. And everything is fine as long as the elegant business men are Necrodeath in disguise.

Well, everything is fine? Not at all. It may be a triviality, but I do not like albums whose songs have no name. A carefully chosen title can fire your imagination ("Countess Bathory", "Trapped Under Ice" or "At Dawn They Sleep", just to name a few.) In contrast, "Idiosyncrasy Part I-VII" does not evoke any emotions. I do not want to make a mountain out of a molehill. But the songs appear as faceless, nameless prisoners that are caught in the concept of the full-length. Therefore, the simple enumeration of the pieces leaves me cold. Unfortunately, the same applies to some immature parts of the concept album. I do not wish to say that the output fails to reach an acceptable level. But Necrodeath offers more of the same - so far, so good - without creating a lot of outstanding melodies, riffs or solos. The Italians do not refine their style, neither to good nor to evil. They just do not make full use of their enormous options. In terms of many albums of the competitors, "Idiosyncrasy" can be seen as a strong output. Nevertheless, compared with the strongest outputs of their own discography, the here presented work scored rather poorly.

As usual, Necrodeath present sharp riffs, an expressive vocal performance of Flegias, percussive elements and mostly coherent song structures. The production also falls within the scope of what can be expected. "Idiosyncrasy" does not lack of pressure or clarity. Despite the transparency of the mix, the record does not suffer from a synthetic or soulless sound. But in the case of such an experienced band, one can assume that its members exactly know the sound they want to have. Therefore, a professional and vigorous mix should be just a matter of course.

Nevertheless, something is missing on "Idiosyncrasy". Necrodeath is normally able to generate an atmosphere of furiousness and ferocity. On the here presented full-length, the group seems to be shy of exhibiting its full force. For example, "Part IV" is surprisingly slow without creating a special atmosphere. In addition, it kills the flow of the album. However, this is not the only problem. Too many parts of the tracks fail to release an energizing effect. Of course, the band is able to handle the great number of breaks in a clever way. The relatively complex songs cannot be blamed for lameness. What is more, some sections are really well executed while delivering fairly dramatic guitar lines. But instead of working on innovation, the band rediscovers some well-known stylistic tricks. Once again, they rely on the fascination of a duet of Flegias and a female guest singer. Although this is no new idea, this piece ("Part V") stands out, precisely because of the addition of the guest vocals. Furthermore, it offers a haunting guitar line at the beginning which is able to give you goose bumps. Both the first and the second "Part" also show the songwriting skills of the Italians in a very good way. But in general, it is hardly possible to suppress the feeling that Necrodeath do not reach top form. As already proved, they can do it better.

Decent enough - 65%

Memnarch, April 1st, 2012

Necrodeath have been around now since 1985, and are one of those bands who in their day were hugely influential, and in their initial incarnation release two of the most important and criminally overlooked albums the Italian metal scene has ever seen. “Into the Macabre” and “Fragments of Insanity” were, and still are both essential first wave black/death Metal albums that stand easily toe to toe with the rest of the genre’s forerunners at the time. Yet to this day, asking 90% of extreme metal fans have they heard of them you’ll be met by a majority of blank faces. And then after a number of line-up and label problems, they just appeared to vanish.

So fast forward ten years and they’re back together, this time with Opera IX drummer Flegias at the helm. I have to admit, other than their seminal first two albums, I had no idea they still existed until recently, but being the huge Opera IX fan it was only obligatory I checked them out again. First impressions are that while notably different from their ‘classic’ material, that this contains some exceptionally good stuff.

Of course it was going to sound different, name me any one of the vintage Thrash bands who sounds the exact same now as they did twenty to thirty years ago? Almost none, it is to an extent almost to be expected, but where the likes of Kreator, Slayer and Exodus are releasing lethargic, sterile trend hopping crap which screams ‘mid-life crisis’, Necrodeath have managed to come up with something altogether fresh and modern and refuse to get caught in that trap of a band sounding as though they’re desperately trying to claw back the years.

“Idiosyncrasy” as their latest release is titled is now their tenth album comprised of one song without break split up into seven parts. Initially the alarm bells started ringing, this is something many bands have tried but rarely ever succeed at, but appears to be working here. There are a lot of different elements and influences at work here; the guitar tone is crisp, modern and almost death metallish, varying from dense crunching riffs to sharp lead work. Flegias’ vocals appear to be some sort of hybrid between a high pitched black metal shriek and Mille Petrozza from back when he could actually sing.

The frequent transitions between the slow, brooding bassy passages and the faster blast and flail sections knit together fairly well and are more than slightly reminiscent of Slayer on “Seasons in the Abyss”. The frequent tempo fluctuations and overall dynamic approach to their song writing leave “Idiosyncrasy” an unpredictable listen, so much so at times it was more jarring to listen to than anything else, there’s not enough continuity of cohesion for it to stick. It also does tend to get caught up a little too heavy in the ‘groove’ end of the spectrum at times, something I’m not too favourable about, but it’s infrequent enough not to be a big problem.

In short “Idiosyncrasy” is a more than respectable release, ok so it doesn’t hold a candle to the early stuff but that’s almost a different era now. If glossy and modern thrash is your thing then you might well find something here. Traditionalists may not be quite as enamoured with it, but I certainly found their brand of prog tinged Thrash more listenable than some of the more famous names still toiling away.

Free From Guilt, Free From Sin, FREE FROM GOD! - 85%

GuntherTheUndying, December 6th, 2011

The original Italian veterans of the prototypical metal world known as Necrodeath have faced many situations, but none have been so artistically challenging or chancy than “Idiosyncrasy.” Proudly standing as their tenth full-length child over twenty-five years after the group’s abominable birth, the album continues Necrodeath’s black/thrash metal mayhem as expected, except there’s a major devil in the details: “Idiosyncrasy” is surprisingly only one song. The single foundation of the record – divided up into seven parts in case you feel like pausing the cinematic piece – runs for an impressive forty minutes, and it surprisingly maintains a level of consistency often unseen in gigantic tracks. Astonishingly, “Idiosyncrasy” fails to defile the upbringing and resurgence of Necrodeath’s career; there are no progressive elements, industrial passages, or what have you. It actually runs purely on the group’s signature traits without the addition of irrelevant influences. This is a Necrodeath record above anything else, and you know the band will beat your bum like a punching bag even if it takes forty minutes to finish the pulverization.

Much like the past discography of Necrodeath, the gripping combination of black/thrash metal defines the band’s efforts, although there are some slight differences in execution. But more importantly, the forty minutes of blasphemous pounding which comprise “Idiosyncrasy” apply a signature mix of retrogressive black/thrash metal ingredients into Necrodeath’s spicy cesspool. Interestingly, the song runs sequentially on the steady swirl of thrash-laden riffs and old-school black metal components à la Venom or Possessed rather than devouring progressive themes or musically-lacking ideas which usually suffice for long anthems. In other words, it is an actual song, one that the group could perform live without any manipulation or special help in the sound booth. However, it is important to note “Idiosyncrasy” has a number of stellar factors aiding its conquest: the vocals are aggressive and powerful, the universal guitar work remains addictive, and the advanced essentials of a compositionally-difficult tune stitch together with absolute prose, consistency, and effectiveness.

Furthermore, the actual contributions on the musical end are fantastic. You could say Necrodeath seems to show a sign of maturity that really aids their identity, particularly with the transitioning between ripping thrash riffs and the creepy, slithering sections of pure darkness occupying much of the release. They don’t seem to run out of intriguing ideas either, as noted by the brief absence of guitars about half-way through the journey or the number of well-timed solos exploding over the pandemonium, and they somehow manage to balance a chorus within the forty minute which doesn’t fall to repetition or redundancy. The surprises and black virtues are seemingly limitless, and it would be insane to label each and every twist Necrodeath has up its demonic sleeve, so you’ll have to experience the massive thrill of “Idiosyncrasy” yourself to truly grasp the whole picture. However, it is nothing short of awesome.

Overall, “Idiosyncrasy” quickly becomes an enjoyable treat, and it’s easily one of the most musically developed compositions penned under the Necrodeath tribe. More importantly, this mammoth slice of apocalyptic doom shows the band forcing their creative variance into something that would otherwise remain uncomfortable or debatably taboo; however, they pinned the trial into submission with willingness often unseen. At the very least, “Idiosyncrasy” is an evolutionary effort that brings Necrodeath to a new plateau of chronological maturity, and it truly establishes the group’s ability to produce wonderful black/thrash metal that moves away from one-dimensional territory and keeps Necrodeath’s legacy darker and more diabolical than ever. Can’t really say how this falls between their earlier works because of its nature, but it’s definitely a recommended listen.

This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com