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Necrocurse - "Grip Of The Dead" (CD)

Necrocurse - "Grip Of The Dead" CD cover image

"Grip Of The Dead" track listing:

1. Preludium of Devastation (1:25)
2. Necrocurse (3:46)
3. Rotten in the Dark (4:12)
4. The Devil Cobra (3:56)
5. Ripping Darkness (The Destroyer) (3:46)
6. Death Metal Rebels (3:42)
7. Morbid Maniacs (3:35)
8. Speed to the Grave (4:27)
9. Grip of the Dead (3:45)
10. Coffin Breakers (3:10)
11. Infernal Rebellion (4:43)

Reviewed by on March 31, 2013

"It’s not an album that will dominate your playlist for weeks, though it’s a pleasant diversion if the thought of melody or anything progressive in death metal should be against the metal laws."

Necrocurse’s debut album “Grip of the Dead” is for those who can’t get enough Swedish death metal. There has been 20 years worth of albums with that description, and because of that, Necrocurse fits right into the middle of the pack. It’s supposed to resonate evil through its sonic wave lengths - the cover art has skeletons on fire! - and the singer must be really angry with his hissy shrieks. There’s little variation between songs, to the point where you could pick two or three random songs and get a good feel for what Necrocurse is all about. There’s ambivalence from this writer regarding the merit of “Grip of the Dead.”

The spirit of death metal is strong in this one, yet that spirit does not make for gripping material. Necrocurse is a band hopped up on speed, sometimes stumbling into black metal grounds with its riffage. There’s the occasional tempo shift, though it’s so minuscule that it feels more forced than anything. The band seems to be trying to inject some of that old-school magic into their sound, which they do exceedingly well, but it’s often for nothing when the songs lack the hooks to give them extended value.

Glimpses of a taunt atmosphere are utilized on “Preludium of Devastation,” a 90-second intro track that marches the album into the den of sinners and harlots. A fantastic way to set the mood for the album, only for the band to not take any advantage of it. Sampling of a thunderstorm brightens up “Rotten in the Dark,” but that’s as far as the band tries their hands at soliciting an emotional response. They make their intentions outright with “Necrocurse,” and little is changed from that point.

Though the album putters through a series of average songs, the last few show a hint of inspiration. The title “Speed to the Grave” is an accurate assessment of the song, as the band takes the express rail to a destination six feet under. The bass guitar shines on the lead break to “Coffin Breakers,” a twist from its usual spot in the background. An ‘80s-inspired falsetto wail gives “Infernal Rebellion” a jolt that is followed through with a sloppy energy. It’s a solid end to “Grip of the Dead,” but it may have made for an even better start after “Preludium of Devastation.”

Death metal, especially that of the Swedish variety, has its established fan base that will most likely be satisfied with “Grip of the Dead.” There aren't any melodic leanings that the likes of At The Gates and Dark Tranquillity have toiled over. Necrocurse is fit to be a vicious unit prepared to wage war with the good and holy, all in the name of delicious sin. It’s not an album that will dominate your playlist for weeks, though it’s a pleasant diversion if the thought of melody or anything progressive in death metal should be against the metal laws.

Highs: Death metal that doesn't toy with much melodic elements, fits of energy that spill over to a few exciting moments

Lows: Nothing jaw-dropping about the music, music can get stale at times, some of the best material is saved for the last few tracks

Bottom line: Average Swedish death metal that is more of a diversion than anything overly engaging.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)