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Necronomicon - The Final Chapter - 91%

Edmund Sackbauer, April 27th, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, CD, El Puerto Records

I think it is fair to call Necronomicon legends of the German thrash metal scene. Despite they might have never made the kind of waves others like Kreator, Destruction, Sodom and so on have done they managed to release some great stuff and build a solid and faithful fanbase. I am not 100 % sure about their status at the moment, as their full length number ten is not only titled “The Final Chapter”, but there have also been rumors about them calling it quits. From what I saw there are flyers for concerts and festivals with their name on them, so they have probably decided to make a u turn and keep on rocking. That would be great news, as their most recent album is a great slab of pure and classic thrash metal and should be a safe bet for fans of this kind of music respectively metal heads in general.

The pummeling begins with “I am Violence” – a ground shaking, walls crumbling, building and destroying slab of ferocious thrash. Necronomicon are extremely old-school in their approach, it’s just pure thrash metal; no fancy addendums or experimentation. This is completely unapologetic stuff, it’s almost as if someone snatched this band directly after their self-titled debut from 1986 and dropped them into the modern era to see how they would fare. That is how genuine Necronomicon sound in their classic approach, there’s no appropriation of multiple metal identities to attempt a unique face for the band. And why should they change anything as the formula has worked perfectly fine over the past 35 years.

That is not to say that their music does not sound fresh or is boring in any way. The riffs hit hard and with perfect precision, the sound is top notch, the performances are classy and the songs are written in an eloquent and mature style. The guitars are fast, fluid, and sharp. There is a lot of heavy flow to the album, but it all works out well. This album got the speed that’s essential for the genre, the insanity that makes for this truly chaotic feel, and both rhythms and melodies that really bring the music together in a way that is nigh on irresistible. The lads are fantastic musicians and there are a few more sophisticated sections where they show off a bit of their skills, but over their long running career they have learned that thrash metal fans are mainly interested in getting some kick-ass songs to bang their head to, and Necronomicon deliver exactly that with sleepwalking certainty.

The speed and the intensity are kept very high over the whole playing time with only a few passages where the tempo is slowed down and the listener gets a chance to breathe. However, the melodic harmonies and the fantastic hooks make the record a very enjoyable affair. Crushing rhythms and haunting leads are often building tension before smashing it down with a chunky breakdown, frequently follow by some nice yet never overwhelming lead guitar work. Most song structures are straight on point, often peaking in catchy chorus parts. Singer Freddy is once again belting out the lyrics like a madman and there are no signs of wear and tear.

There are a couple of tracks that might stand out a bit, but overall there are no real fillers. Clocking in around 46 minutes “The Final Chapter” might be a tad overlong for this kind of music, as by cutting out one or two songs this could have been more or less the top thrash album of the year. The production quality is top notch, very powerful and dynamic without sounding too sterile. The rhythm guitar has a thick and crunchy tone while the drums sound very organic. The lead guitar cuts through the pummeling in nice fashion and the vocals sit on top of the mix. Overall this is an easy recommendation for fans of thrash metal or well-done metal in general, so let’s hope that we are going to see album number 11.