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Stripped down and Amped up - 91%

lonerider, August 20th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Regain Records

Comparing Death to All to its immediate predecessor, the first thing that comes to mind is that the symphonic elements characterizing Hrimthursum are mostly gone. Declining to go down that lane even farther, Necrophobic instead decided to replace those elements with even more speed, more black bile, more all-out devilry and an overall more formulaic approach, which in this instance is not a bad thing at all.

Tracks like “Celebration of the Goat”, “Revelation 666”, “La Santisima Muerte”, “Temple of Damnation” and “The Tower” perfectly exemplify this: all are characterized by blistering pace and blatant aggression but, as is always the case with these Swedish masters of blackened death metal, there’s always a healthy dose of somber melody amidst all the mayhem. Meanwhile, a track like the more overtly melodic and slightly – very slightly, to be precise – slower “For Those Who Stayed Satanic”, a self-glorifying anthem to all those loyal devil worshippers out there, is laced with catchy hooks and an immensely memorable chorus that will have you growl along in no time. Make no mistake, though: what may sound like a somewhat cheesy affair on paper is – much to the Dark Lord’s delight – still way too menacing, brutal and, well, satanic to have any kind of far-reaching mainstream appeal.

Having said all that, Death to All is really not an album about which to lose very many words. Not because it’s not worth discussing in greater detail but because it doesn’t stray far from the band’s tried-and-true formula. It’s a pretty straightforward affair which, owing to the highly competent songwriting, nifty musicianship and passionate delivery, is much greater than the rather moderate sum of its parts. Even though there are remnants of what the band successfully introduced with Hrimthursum – the haunting operatic chants on “La Santisima Muerte” for instance –, the instrumentation is basically stripped down to a classic drums, guitars and bass format and the musical arrangements are far less adventurous. Anyone familiar with the mighty Dissection and at least some of Necrophobic’s back catalog will know what to expect, but hey, there’s no need to go all artsy-fartsy when you can do Swedish-school blackened death metal as well as these guys.

However, all of this does not mean the album is completely devoid of epic moments or complex song structures. Take the monstrous “Revelation 666”, for instance: with its blackened speed/thrash metal riffs (think “Necrophiliac” on steroids), it starts out as a lightning-fast ode to early Slayer before an explosion signals a sudden break and the beginning of one of the sweetest displays of melodic dual-guitar wizardry this side of Iron Maiden. Then, of course, there’s the title track, which is divided into three sections all carrying their own name and distinct musical signature. Taking all the stylistic ingredients natural to Necrophobic’s sound, complete with samples of howling storms and some neo-classical acoustic guitars, it combines them into an occult and ripping epic of demonic proportions. It’s always a good thing when an album ends on a high note with one of its strongest tracks, and that’s definitely the case with Death to All.

As on previous albums, the best aspect in terms of musicianship is the phenomenal axe work of guitar duo Ramstedt/Bergebäck, churning out a wealth of speedy tremolo-infused riffage, melodic solos and, most of all, some dual harmonies that put many a traditional metal band and Maiden wannabes worldwide to utter shame. Those last two-and-a-half minutes of “Revelation 666” in particular are simply breathtaking in that regard, displaying a keen sense of melody and astounding degree of technical sophistication that almost makes you wonder how these guys chose something as extreme as black/death metal as their favorite field of play.

After the highly regarded and rather bombastic Hrimthursum, Necrophobic arguably did the right thing in following it up with the much more concise, much more basic Death to All, which is right up there with some of the band’s very best work. Where Hrimthursum was a more ambitious affair, a blend of various stylistic approaches and ideas, Death to All sticks to what Necrophobic are best known for: a highly melodic, yet immensely aggressive and utterly pitch-black death metal assault that never overstays its welcome and will leave you wanting for more. Whether you prefer this over Hrimthursum or the other way around strictly comes down to personal preference; simply rest assured that you cannot go wrong with either one.

Choicest cuts: Revelation 666, La Santisima Muerte, Temple of Damnation, Death to All

Apocalyptic, colossal and destructive - 100%

Felix 1666, July 12th, 2015
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Regain Records

Let me begin with some words I will not use in this review: mediocre and average, stale and corny, to name but a few. I will also not need terms like powerless, half-baked or lukewarm. The reason for that is simple. Necrophobic´s sixth full-length marks their masterpiece and a genre milestone as well. The enormous potential of the band has never been questioned. Additionally, the guys always proved their skill to compose fantastic individual tracks that were perfectly structured and executed. But "Death to All" takes the final step. It is a perfect album from the first to the last minute. "Storm of the Light´s Bane" was a groundbreaking full-length with a lot of highlights, but Necrophobic even surpasses this stylistically comparable masterpiece. The listener is summoned to drown in absolute blackness while being haunted by an army of vile and infamous ghosts. The guys from Sweden work mercilessly without losing their sense for unholy harmonies. At the same time, the fanatically acting band reaches the ultimate level of ferocity.

It is a thrilling experience to see how Necrophobic combines two seemingly contradictory positions. On the one hand, the group explores the deepest abysses. It dives head over heels into the quintessence of extreme metal and the atmosphere of death and devastation is omnipresent. On the other hand, I cannot blame them for being one-dimensional and / or predictable. The band is not caught in the established rules of the genre. Without integrating external influences, the guys take the liberty to unite unholy choirs with ruthless velocity ("Temple of Damnation", for instance) and they are not afraid of adding a melancholic ending to the apocalyptic "Revelation 666". The band knows that extensive acoustic interludes make no sense and it does not offer more or less superfluous intros. (The tranquil outro, which is part of the final track, must be understood as the calm after the storm. Or to express it differently, there is just nothing left to annihilate.) Compactness and density play major roles. They are key factors for the overwhelming effect of the album. The same can be said about the raw and hateful vocals of Tobbe Sidegård. He articulates all forms of desperation, scorn and insanity. From this follows that "Death to All" seems to be more than just an eye-catching title for the album. Sidegård obviously understands these three words as the leitmotif for his contribution and he fulfills his part with total devotion. The other guys do not just stand by and watch. They also put their heart and soul into the eight tracks so that each and every one of the furious and sombre songs deserves the highest recognition.

The production lies in close proximity to perfection. No, I must correct myself. In complete accordance with the ingenious songs, the album definitely glitters with a perfect sound. Believe me, I was looking for the fly in the ointment, but I am just not able to identify a weak point. "Death to All" sounds aggressive, combative and evocative so that the mix puts the predominantly fast-paced songs in the right light. The voice and the instrumental section are flawlessly balanced. I recommend to pay special attention to the irresistible guitar sound. It will draw you under its spell while celebrating the most vigorous riffs and melodies. Nevertheless, the guitar work is no end in itself. It is constantly condemned to serve the songs - and the compositional skills of the band are even better than before. To call them outstanding would be an understatement. The most divine (or, if you like, the most satanic) moment shows up during the incredibly intensive bridge of "Revelation 666"; and the immediately following razor-sharp chorus is equally impressive. But Necrophobic manages more atmospheric tunes as well. "Wings of Death" appears as the sonic version of the blazing hellfire and wants to burn your soul with its torrid approach. The hymnal and triumphant chorus of "For Those Who Stayed Satanic" will take your breath away. Its phenomenal catchiness and the unholy implementation unite with each other and lead to a black maelstrom of unforeseeable vehemence. However, the list of fantastic details could well become an endless one or did I, for example, already mention the unfathomable density of "La Santisima Muerte"?

It goes without saying that the album can be described as violent and punchy. Yet it is a fact that Necrophobic does not primarily focus on brutality. They rather act like conspirators. Therefore, they do not deliver a strictly brute sound that makes churches and mosques crumble in a matter of minutes. But their music is suitable to undermine every religious community so that the sacral buildings can be used for another purpose. Necrophobic needs a place to celebrate its black masses and ritual sacrifices. I guess I will come to one of these blood-soaked events, because the here reviewed soundtrack leaves me no choice. (And maybe you can confirm that I really did not need the words I have listed at the beginning of the review. But if you want to blame me for an inflationary use of positive attributes, please wait until you have listened to this monument. You will possibly see that I did not exaggerate.)


LoveBreedsSuicide, January 9th, 2014

Black-death/ blackened death/melodic black-death (or whatsoever you want it to label) has been possibly one of the most exploited metal styles in Scandinavia right after At the gates, Dissection and Necrophobic released their debut works. Names like Sacramentum, Unanimated, Swordsmaster, Gates of Ishtar, Lord Belial, Mork Gryning etc. come to mind and even though all those bands often revolve around black and death elements in different manner and proportion, you can’t deny their common trait: an intention to build up a natural link between Morbid Angel and Darkthrone, also throwing some melodic heavy metal aspect in the mix.

It was quite hard to expect something incredible from veterans of this scene in 2009, especially since a master of nocturnal melody David Parland aka Blackmoon had been staying no longer with this hellish brigade. But when I listen to Death to all, I always get stoned by the way they top a classic album like The Nocturnal Silence with such an ease, whereas previous albums after Darkside only slightly touch it.

Death to all with its excellent guitar tone, a balance between viciousness and melodicism and an organic blending of different components proves to be an outstanding example of how old-fashioned evil music from the 1990s still breathes and shines in the 21th century. Necrophobic look up to Slayer, Bathory, Dissection and even Iron Maiden and bring about the album which let all these influences to get along naturally with each other. Death to All is in no way an eclectic amalgamation, but a carefully constructed piece of evil metal.

Guitar work is what really makes this album. Cold, otherworldly tremolo melodies, hitting thrash/death palm muted riffs, tasteful licks and solos – nothing is left aside. The title track alone is worthy of praising this album. A clean, tranquil harmony in the beginning, dirty and malicious tremolo patterns later on, somber acoustics, pummeling march-like guitar/drum combination and emotional lead guitar lines near the end. Even some somber chants are present to bring a sense of despair over the world that Necrophobic burn to ashes so ruthlessly in their lyrics. Wings of Death features very catchy, layered guitar passages and Revelation 666 is what can be attributed as an "anthem" here. Vocals are always hateful and hoarse and have that sort of "I will die for the Lord" quality to them. Who is Necrophobic’s Lord is rather apparent, and although I am a bit skeptical about this type of lyrics (mystic/occult are more interesting), they seem to be not out of place. In fact, any other lyrical subject wouldn’t be reflected well by this musical slaughterhouse, apart from the satanic one.

If you like The Red in the Sky is Ours, The Nocturnal Silence, In the Forest of the Dreaming Dead or any other albums done in screechy and melodic Swedish metal style, it will be a crime for you to ignore Death to all.

Go Listen To "Revelation 666" - 87%

OzzyApu, May 19th, 2011

Necrophobic’s last album left us with no doubt that the band wasn’t still capable of creating something lethal. Just a decade before, the band had a lull in activity between the debut and the sophomore, Darkside. The Third Antichrist wasn’t much (that awful cover art played some role), but from Bloodhymns and on the band got back on track. The two stable axemen now long into the band came from Morpheus, a band that was all about riffs, but without production to aid. All in all, Death To All is the same black metal that’s been heard since the dawn of black metal, but it’s done by Necrophobic in the Necrophobic style – that’s why we keep coming back.

From start to finish, this album is packed with sinister tremolo and ghoulishly low screams amid very tainted atmosphere. This atmosphere isn’t like an aura, but the kind that leaves you on edge, as if your door was going to be kicked down by a bunch of demons. It isn’t a scary feeling, but a menacing one that leaves you powerless. Other than that, it’s an assault from the kick of “Celebration Of The Goat”, through the decisive “Temple Of Damnation”, and on the closer’s traumatizing build-ups. Death To All utilizes melody with bloodcurdling screams, tantalizing blast-beats, brooding bass, and decrepit riffs to bring an experience that’s hellish, haunting, and romantic. That has been Necrophobic’s take since The Nocturnal Silence, and none of it has been truly lost.

All instruments are well conditioned, production lends itself to a more vintage tone, and the band maintains professionalism while still playing aggressive to the point of non-control. It’s a fun album that takes itself very seriously, and that can’t be blamed when the content backs up the context. “Wings Of Death” and “For Those Who Stayed Satanic” are gloomy tracks taking over with total riff hypnoticism without repetition. These songs are straightforward and strikes left and right, so nothing drags.

My one complaint, however, is that the album blows its load too early, much like Entombed’s Left Hand Path. Whereas Entombed gave you their best track as the first one on that album, Necrophobic gives you theirs with their second in “Revelation 666” (should have been the final track). As the lead single for the album, it was a worthy choice. The first half begins commonly with an onslaught of vicious riffs and blasting under Sidegård’s cut-throat growls / screams. The second half, however, is a breathtaking +2 ½ minute outro with a harmonious lead and poignant atmosphere; a measured tempo in a climactic ensemble. Needless to say, I was stunned hearing this the first time. Having listened to Necrophobic for years, I never knew they would get this vivid in terms of composition. It’s an astoundingly melodic, romantic section far and away from the rest of the album that ultimately lands “Revelation 666” as my favorite Necrophobic song.

While not the darkest or most melodic of Necrophobic ‘s catalog, Death To All is certainly very memorable, with “Revelation 666” being the centerpiece that’ll grab anyone’s attention. The album can only be seen as another strong successor in a line of strong ventures. The band takes their time with these, and each one holds true to itself. Death To All is just more proof that the band knows how to stay consistent.

Death To All! - 98%

GuntherTheUndying, May 21st, 2010

In an age that currently encourages the idea of reunions and new albums, a lot of folks overshadow metal’s finest tribes. The influential and well-aged Necrophobic have been victim of this putrid phenomena. I discovered that “Death to All” is beyond incredible; in fact, it’s definitely one of the best blackened death metal releases I have ever heard, but who talks about it? Not a soul it seems like. However, “Death to All” quickly became a classic I haven’t been able to release after countless listens. Within this album, there is unspeakable might that only few groups could produce with such instrumental clay. For Necrophobic, this is their black tribulation; a calling for cataclysm in blackened death metal that will forever brand this identity with coldness and violence, creating the masterpiece “Death to All” was meant to be.

And yes, I’m being completely serious: “Death to All” is a magnum opus of all sorts. Instrumentally, Necrophobic have perfected the blackened death metal identity through an outstanding balance of symbols based on demonic visions and the chilling breeze of the ninth circle, molded from soil into an idol no sane individual could deny. Throughout their two-decade reign, however, the group’s mysterious symmetry has never looked so sharp or poetic: the band shifts from elusive to illuminated, serious to fun, and determined to light-hearted with magnificent awe that doesn’t go unnoticed. Every song is a journey within itself; marching towards a dark, forbidden place that only Necrophobic can actualize.

Necrophobic’s direction is what it is: ruthless, vicious blackened death metal. Essentially, the cold and hateful tremolo riffs and melodies cursed by death and black metal expel a supernatural conjuration of well-crafted brilliance that absorbs the two genre’s strongest points into a hammering, atmospheric show of twisted malevolence with the darkest of intentions. Below the madness resides Joakim Sterner’s percussion, which is scientifically perfect to the album’s overall flow between an aura of fills and patterns that greatly contribute to the fundamental touch of “Death to All.” If any of this may appear typical for a black/death metal release, there is a settling arrangement of diversity among “Death to All,” particularly organized in masterful patterns that bring songs like “For Those That Stayed Satanic” or “Wings of Death” into grandmaster territory. There is nothing generic to be foreseen; only the golden personification of excellent violence.

This sort of positivism, however, is attached to an undead nimbus of atmospheric revulsion that demonstrates the sheer brilliance that something like “Death to All” can offer when properly written and executed. These contributions, although similar in zeal, are carefully specific and varied beyond the planes of blackened death metal. For example, the straight-forward rush of “Celebration of the Goat” is like a bullet charging towards its target: it gets the point done with no fluff, which is, of course, very nice. Necrophobic’s philosophy nevertheless morphs into other platforms that are equally successful, such as the haunting atmosphere of “The Tower,” or longer landscapes like “Revelation 666” that contain various parts and tempos. My point is simple: Necrophobic’s writing abilities are superb and visionary, leading their charge into the divine darkness blackened death metal represents with utmost power and devotion.

Still, “Death to All” remains a straight-through-the-heart apparatus always standing as the immovable object in Swedish death metal while counteracting any force by art of thrilling tactics under unnamable vehemence. The longtime chemistry between vocalist Tobias Sidegård and Sebastian Ramstedt’s pristine riffs emerge an unholy combination, as their crucial performances lift the overall record above and beyond something any metal fan can easily bite into. There need not be any doubt or ridiculous metaphor about Necrophobic; their chemistry is beyond masterful in every sense during musical channels and the forsaken ambience they have perfected for over two decades of hellish madness. Needless to say, “Death to All” is unquestionably one of their finest stands.

Alas, many will notice anti-primitive cuts like the title track storming through the warfront with acoustic passages or emotional soloing despite the band’s external traditionalism at hand, yet the situational evolutions are perfect additions to Necrophobic’s cosmic demeanor, and forge a record that is truly wonderful on all levels of judgment. So if you haven’t detected any fanboyism coursing through this review’s circulatory system, allow me to spell it out for you: Necrophobic have achieved the blackened death metal masterpiece of the decade. “Death to All” is excellent, divine, and without fault within the blackened death metal field of musical dominance and balanced ideas, perhaps clawing its way to the top of class; a future classic, “Death to All” is not to be missed. In the end, Necrophobic has one ending theme: death to all…forever and ever.

This review was written for:

Fast as fuck old school Swedish death - 85%

autothrall, November 25th, 2009

Necrophobic has always been a standout of the Swedish death metal scene, even at their very lowest (The Third Antichrist) they were capable of delivering the goods. Previous album Hrimthursum was a scorching return to form, and Death to All is another. This is fast as fuck old school Swedish death with an occult aesthetic and snarling vocals that should also curdle the blood of the black metal afficionado.

"Celebration of the Goat" opens with creepy guitar intonations before the searing maw of hell widens and devours you. Though caustic and brutal, Necrophobic go one deeper with a nigh constant stream of melodic despair. "Revelation 666" and "La Satanisma Muerte" do not let up, the former a blast of melodic evil and the latter a more rugged, thrashing exercise. I was laughing at the title "For Those Who Stayed Satanic", but not the track itself, a grim grinder with some eerie, bleeding melodies and chants. "Temple of Damnation" and "The Tower" continue the onslaught of the first three tracks, but "Wings of Death" slows for a mid-paced battery. The title track is the last and possibly best thing on this album, almost 9 minutes of hellish abandon and arterial spray.

'Emotional outburst beyond human sense
Eletric we hold to unite
The scent of your skin, the grace of your soul
Together we trepass the light'

Death to All is crisp and incendiary, with each track exploding into existence, or teasing you for a few seconds and THEN exploding. Tobias Sidegård has really come into his own as the vocalist of this band, and the mix of this album truly captures that occult beauty of Darkside. I am once again impressed by the unswerving character of this band, and Death to All is further evidence of one of the better occult black/death acts in the world.


Death To All - 91%

Noctir, November 6th, 2009

Three years after their epic opus, Hrimthursum, Sweden's Necrophobic returned with their sixth full-length, Death To All. It was released on Regain Records, in late May 2009. After such a long wait, I found myself very eager for this release; probably anticipating it more than any of their other albums. This increased as, days before I departed for Berlin, I conducted an interview with Tobias Sidegård. What I found, upon its release, was exactly what I'd hoped for. This album isn't as overtly majestic as the previous outing, yet it retains some of the same feeling. Actually, one can find elements of all the previous albums, here, as this serves as an excellent representation of the band.

What can be heard here is the kind of melodic Black/Death Metal that the band has become known for. On this release, it would seem that the sound and spirit lean more toward Black Metal, as the atmosphere is quite dark. The production sounds quite similar to the previous album, with everything being rather clear but not over-produced in any way. Each frozen note is easy to hear and everything is mixed together quite well. The prime components are the guitars. Johan and Sebastian execute each riff with great precision. Despite the long absence of founding member David Parland, the band tries its best to maintain the dark and nocturnal atmosphere that has become its trademark. Tobbe's lethal vocals have a morbid and depraved aura about them, on this record. As for Joakim's drumming, it is typical of what you would expect of him. The drums are at just the right level, enough to be heard and to keep time, but not so much that they distract from what's important; the guitars.

The songwriting consists of a lot of fast-paced, straight-forward riffs. This album is overflowing with cold and dark tremolo riffs. The hauntingly nocturnal melodies are ever-present, from the very first moments of "Celebration of the Goat". As soon as this begins, there is no mistaking who this is. Naturally, there are a lot of twists and turns, taking you on a dark journey. These compositions are not minimalist in any way. Though the dominant theme is speed, there are slower sections that work to build the epic feeling. In particular, the latter half of "Revelation 666" takes the word 'epic' to a new extreme. The haunting solo that begins a little past the midway point is majestic in all its nocturnal glory. This is one of the highlights of the album, as you are sort of swept away to some dark realm of shadows, far beyond the light. The melody is introspective and almost mournful in tone. "La Satanisma Muerte", abruptly, pulls you from this deep chasm, as the journey must continue. Despite being the shortest song on the album, it is very well constructed and features a slower section with some backing choir to create a hellish and epic feeling.

"For Those Who Stayed Satanic" was the first song made public, as they posted the live video of this long before the album was recorded. Honestly, I didn't think too much of the title, and the performance didn't sound terribly exciting. Thankfully, the album version is much more impressive and makes more of an impact since each riff is clearly heard. Even still, I wouldn't say it's the strongest song on the album. The following track, "Temple of Damnation", completely slays it, especially the haunting middle section that reminds of something from Bloodhymns. As this progresses, Joakim throws in some nice old school drumming to accompany the lead solo. By this point, it seems that there was a lot of thought put into the placement of the songs, as they flow together masterfully. "The Tower" is filled with riffs and solos that would have made Slayer proud, 25 years ago. Though, like the rest of the songs, it's quite dynamic.

As the album nears its conclusion, we come to another one of the true highlights of this record, "Wings of Death". Beginning with a very dark clean guitar, it slowly builds as melancholic tremolo melody is joined by somber thrash riffs. This one isn't as fast as the rest, thought it may be a stretch to really label it as 'mid-paced'. In any event, everything comes together to create something dark and epic; the kind of song that haunts your mind. Tobias sounds particularly possessed on this one, being consumed with utter madness. This all leads into the title track, which kind of picks up from where the previous song leaves off. It would seem like any other song on the record, yet as it proceeds it continues to build. There are several riffs that you might not expect, bringing in a definite old school feeling. After about six minutes, everything comes to a stop, leaving only the cold winds and an acoustic guitar. Slowly, something sounding like a war march fades in, and then slowly fades back into the acoustic piece.

There isn't too much to say about this one. It is very enjoyable from beginning to end and is exactly what you would expect a new Necrophobic album to sound like. There are no surprises here, which may please some fans that had difficulty getting into the previous record. In the end, Death To All is another strong album from one of Sweden's finest. Buy with confidence.