Album Title: In Chaos Ascend
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Date of Release: 7 January 2021
It’s nice to have the opportunity to review a debut album so early in 2022, but that’s what ‘In Chaos Ascend’ provides, as it is the very first offering from the new death metal entity known as Necrophagous. Having said that, whilst Necrophagous is a new band, the musicians that feature are no ‘wet behind the ears’ newbies. Instead, what we have is a new endeavour that features some notable talent from the world of death metal. Essentially a trio, Necrophagous is comprised of Visceral Bleeding and ex-Entrails member Tommy Carlsson, who handles vocal and guitar duties, alongside fellow ex-Entrails duo Jocke Svensson (bass), and Martin Michaelsson (drums).
I’ve become more and more enamoured with death metal over the past couple of years but even so, had I not let YouTube run free the other day, I’d not have crossed paths with this record. Instead, this happy accident allowed me to unwittingly hear what Necrophagous are all about, and has culminated in this review. Essentially, as I found out, Necrophagous play a style of extreme metal that I like, and they play it well. Allow me to explain.
The press release cites several names in the ‘for fans of’ section, from Morbid Angel to Suffocation, and from Dying Fetus to Revulsion. And these reference points, alongside the aforementioned Entrails and Visceral Bleeding, are not far off if truth be told, for Necrophagous deliver a style of death metal that’s dirty and uncompromising, with an old school feel, as well as an undeniable dose of groove. Dare I say it, but this album manages to sound both brutal and catchy. It’s not catchy in a pop music sense or even a power metal vein, but for an old school death metal album, it has a certain irresistible quality to it. I mean, I keep coming back to it for repeated listens at any rate.
Take, as an opening gambit, the title track that nestles at the heart of the album. The opening riff of ‘In Chaos, Ascend’ is an instant winner, full of groove that has me nodding along in appreciation from the first listen. Admittedly, from there, the song does it’s best to rip the skin off your face from thirty paces with a barrage of fast, aggressive, and dirty death metal violence, but every now and then, those lumbering grooves return and, at the end of the song, they take on a greater menace, as the vocals of Carlsson seem to go even deeper than before, further accentuating the thick roiling riff that has become one of my favourites on the entire record.
At this point, a mention must be made of the production on ‘In Chaos Ascend’ which provides the music with real muscle. The guitar tones are captured very well, allowing their meaty presence to bludgeon the listener through the speakers. But it’s not a sterile, crystal-clear sound either, allowing some of the dirt and grime to remain, just as you’d want from music like this.
Back to the tracks themselves and ‘Blood on the Stone of Thee Monuments’ is another that has an intense groove to it. A slower track, it calls to mind Obituary in places, but it thunders from the speakers with a vicious, single-minded intent that’s rather captivating actually. In fact, there’s a doom metal feel to it at times, such is its inexorable, ponderous pace and overall heaviness, especially in the latter stages when the same crushing note is played, the aural equivalent of being steadily beaten with a hammer.
Then there’s a track like ‘The Plague And The Arts’ which feels quite bouncy whilst demonstrating more of a prog or tech-tinged side to the Necrophagous sound, as it flits between ideas fluidly whilst also accentuating the technical abilities of the band to the full. To end the album, the closer, ‘Wreaker of Pain’ then goes in more of a classic melodeath direction complete with some cool dark and murky atmosphere.
It’s fair to say, then, that ‘In Chaos Ascend’ presents a surprising amount of variety within a genre that can often lack a little in that particular area. I personally see this as a welcome string to the Necrophagous bow. But that’s not to say that those of you who crave some unadulterated brutality from your death metal will be left disappointed. Tracks like ‘Order Of The Lion’ or ‘The Vile Embalmed’ should sate even the most demanding of tastes, as they are fast-paced death metal monsters. Pinched harmonics, blitzkrieg drumming, swirling riffs, an occasional fast lead break, and the satisfyingly deep and resonant growl of Carlsson all feature. However, nothing is overdone, and a certain amount of catchiness is never too far away. If I’m being totally honest, I’d have liked to hear a few more solos here and there, just to add that extra flavour to the palette. You may not agree, but it’s a well-known weakness of mine as I do enjoy a good warp-speed solo that threatens to spiral out of control at any moment.
It will be interesting to see what 2022 offers in terms of death metal as it unfolds. However, Necrophagous have laid down an early marker and are, so far, the only death metal band to put forward an album that has caught my attention to this extent. It will depend upon your personal tastes as to how much you like ‘In Chaos Ascend’ but if your preference is for old school death metal with lashings of neck-breaking groove and unrelenting heaviness, I highly recommend you check out Necrophagous as soon as you can.
The Score of Much Metal: 85%
Check out my other 2022 reviews here:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: