Necronautical - Slain in the Spirit
Candlelight Records
Bombastic Black Metal
9 songs (54'58")
Release year: 2021
Candlelight Records
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

I have been on a long run in 2021 where the whole lot of new music I have listened to was at a level of palatable and respectable, but didn’t manage to excite me beyond belief. This is the reason (besides busy professional life) that caused me to listen to more of the older favorites and thus contribute less to the site. Manchester based Necronautical managed to change that with their newest Slain in the Spirit. Not their first rodeo, but my first experience with the band, the album is one of my favorites so far in 2021, leading to many moments of enjoyment and multiple listens. I hope my review, which I have been harboring for a while, does the album justice.

Setting aside an understated UK folksy black metal which Winterfylleth, Fen or Fellwarden made so popular, Necronautical certainly tilt to the bombastic and slickly produced side of the genre. But don’t think this will be a theatrical Cradle of Filth or warmed up gooey Dimmu Borgir. Bombastic, at the hands of Necronautical, means powerful, majestic, perhaps even transcending black metal as a sole focus, and, dare I say, touching mighty Emperor. Trust it to Candlelight, which brought us now the world famous Norwegians, to put their support behind Necronautical. Slain in the Spirit is certainly worth it. With Naut’s vocals towering and passionate, spitting fire all over these songs, Necronautical focus on endless melodic crafting, without any hint of stagnation, honing, never becoming static, delivering a constant high. Add synths in just the right amount to provide soaring atmospheres and even a female voice (where appropriate, on Ritual & Recursion or Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination), and the album is one bold hour long effort which zips by without you noticing the duration.

After roaring opener Ritual & Recursion Slain in the Spirit does what you almost expect it to, slowing down a bit for a fully ostentatious Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination with its angling cascading keys and heroic guitar leads. Drumming by Slugh is of particular note here, shifting effortlessly between double bass, blast beats and flourishing rolls. At the same time the drum sound on the album is lively and juicy, not plasticky and soulless. Just as Necronautical can continue on this moonlit soaring angle (with a Russian pop song of a chorus) in Contorting in Perpetuity, they can go on triumphant blasting marches (Death Magick Triumphant), or become hymnal with the last section being a knee-breaking syncopated riff in Hypnagogia (not sure how this kind of riff can put you from wakefulness to sleep which is a transitional state hypnagogia describes). Very fitting, Necronautical is mysterious and occulty on Ritual & Recursion, Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination and Pure Consciousness Event, with the latter starting with something akin to Grieg-like Flight of Valkyrja melody, before drowning it in heavy drumming, downtuneage, making it all go macabre. At the same time Necronautical are not loathe or afraid to lighten up at times, to provide you with a folk related tremolo moment, to become slower and brooding, to deliver a powerful melodic swell, culminating in operatic female closing (title track).

The only moment I didn’t quite understand on Slain in the Spirit is its closing Slayer cover of Disciple, as the song just plain doesn’t fit on the album, yet this is an absolutely minor gripe since I have been spinning it on repeat for days, without regret or getting saturated by this intense multilayered music.

Killing Songs :
Ritual & Recursion, Occult Ecstatic Indoctrination, Slain in the Spirit, Hypnagogia, Pure Consciousness Event, Death Magick Triumphant
Alex quoted 92 / 100
1 readers voted
Your quote was: 92.
Change your vote

There are 2 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Aug 31, 2021 5:34 pm
View and Post comments