Nekromantheon - Divinity of Death
Duplicate Records
11 songs (30 minutes)
Release year: 2010
Duplicate Records
Reviewed by Jake

Love it or hate it, the thrash revival marches on with Norwegian band Nekromantheon's debut album Divinity of Death. If you're looking for a reinvented wheel, all you need to know is that this album isn't for you; but if you're okay with wheels as they are, if you see nothing wrong with spinning an old-fashioned wheel for the hell of it, chances are you'll enjoy yourself with these guys.

Album opener Gringo Death introduces us to Nekromantheon with a brief fade-in/freakout that might be intended as an homage to Hit the Lights, before launching into the hyper-fast riffing that will carry us through the rest of the album. And I mean the whole thing; Divinity of Death is absolutely relentless. The tempo never drops even for a bridge; when grooves are introduced, you barely notice, because they're carried out at the same speed as the thrash riffs. There's not so much as a creepy melodic intro from start to finish.

The riffs (provided by vocalist and sole guitarist Arild Myren Torp, who annoyingly chooses to call himself “Arse”) are simple fare, but many of them are quite awesome--think early, Kill Em All-era thrash, but at Slayer speeds and without the blues tonality and scale runs. The songs are at their best when the riffs shift gears from changing power chords to venomous speed-metal tremolo lines, as they do on the brief instrumental Lex Talionis and the song it leads into, the unimpeachable standout Devolutionary Storms. The solos aren't particularly creative, but they don't need to be; these are the kind of songs that are best served by whammy-bar-heavy, not-quite-atonal wankery, which is amply and appropriately supplied. Torp's assault is backed up by a strong performance from drummer Christian Holm (whose nickname “Kick” is presumably meant to be of a pair with “Arse”). Holm isn't a very technical drummer by the standards we've begun to use for extreme metal, but he's a more than solid player with a good ear. His fills are brief and powerful, adding force without drawing attention from the riffs and solos, and he shifts deftly and with wise timing between cymbal-accented grooves and pummeling pseudo-blasts. He strongly recalls the Teutonic drummers of the 80s (though he's more reliably and intentionally on-beat than, say, the young Jurgen Reil was), an association that's backed up by the snarled, breathy vocals of either Torp or bassist Sindre Solem (both are credited with performing “vocals,” so it's unclear who's doing the leads.)

Ultimately, Divinity of Death isn't exactly a giant leap for thrash metal, and there's nothing wrong with skipping it based on its redundancy. That said, if you're content with an inconsequential but kickass album that keeps the glory days alive, grab this album and let's you and me rock out to Alcoholy Terror.

Killing Songs :
Lex Talionis/Devolutionary Storms, Psyanide, the aforementioned and awesomely named Alcoholy Terror.
Jake quoted 75 / 100
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