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A Reflection of the Macabre - 77%

GuntherTheUndying, June 13th, 2011

Necrodeath's tale is known by few. You'd be surprised to know that as of "The Age of Fear," Necrodeath had been alive for over twenty five years and created nine full-length monsters, including "Into the Macabre" and "Fragments of Insanity," undisputed classics of the cult. I honestly had little knowledge of Necrodeath's existence before finding this retrospective collection of their works, but you know what? This band hits the spot. Solid, brutal, unrelenting and ravenous death/thrash metal with just a speck of black metal influence entrances the listening experience throughout "The Age of Fear," and while the band's strongest material clearly resides in the chambers of the 1980s, there's still little to complain about. Necrodeath slays, kids.

This fifteen-track platter shows the general gist and overall summary of Necrodeath's music throughout the band's twenty-odd year killing spree. Cuts from the faction’s post-reunion era shroud most of the release, with slicing riffs and monstrous vocals owning cuts like "Queen of Desire" or "Master of Morphine" to the brink of civilization. Not a whole lot turns away from this formula, but Necrodeath has its priorities in order, at least for the most part. If you're looking to be floored by something otherworldly and unique, though, check out the second take of "Queen of Desire," this time dubbed an "onyric" version of the anthem. Pianos, female vocals, acoustics and atmospheric melodies make up this dream-like rendition, and it's execution is simply phenomenal, miles above the original.

As I said, the material from the group's first two albums is easily the selling point of this release. "Eucharistical Sacrifice" and "At the Mountains of Madness" are two raw, primitive, meaty thrashers that shake the very bones of metal's exoskeleton; it's a crime these displays of maniacal thrashing have been ignored. Not all is well though: the rerecording of “Mater Tenebrarum“ unsuccessfully drops the macabre, fossilized atmosphere of the original for shiny production which does not fit the song at all. “Hate and Scorn” and “Flames of Malignance” are examples of cookie cutter Necrodeath, and the cover of Slayer’s “Black Magic” fails to match the excellence of the original version. These tracks aren’t horrible, but really lacking compared to the compilation’s other achievements. Everything else flays.

"The Age of Fear" won't appeal to everyone, but this underrated group has some killer tunes here, maybe enough to make newer fans realize their favorite band has been hiding somewhere in the hills of Italy. Hardcore fans will be enamored by the onyric version of "Queen of Desire," and "The Age of Fear" might appeal to some newcomers too. However, my scent of interest comes from the few tracks which represent the group's first two albums; that's the real hook of the compilation. The other stuff isn't bad too, so consider giving this a spin if you're looking for a group that pulls no punches and reframes from inane bullshit.

This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com