"some music was meant to stay underground..."

Necrodeath - "The Age of Fear" (CD)

Necrodeath - "The Age of Fear" CD cover image

"The Age of Fear" track listing:

1. Mater Tenebrarum
2. Awakening of Dawn
3. I.N.R.I
4. Smell of Blood
5. Master of Morphine
6. Forever Slave
7. Queen of Desire
8. Burn and Deny
9. Hate and Scorn
10. Flame of Malignance
11. Eucharistical Sacrifice
12. At the Mountains of Madness
13. The Theory (live)
14. Queen of Desire (Onyric Version)
15. Black Magic (Slayer Cover)

Reviewed by on July 28, 2011

"If Venom, Mercyful Fate, old Sodom and old Kreator records are sprawled across your living room floor, 'The Age of Fear' is mandatory for your collection."

Forming in the mid '80s, Necrodeath released two albums and a demo before breaking up in 1989. Raw, nasty and consumed with evil, these early recordings find company with bands like the early works of thrashers Sodom, Kreator and Slayer. These records represent black metal in its earliest forms, and later inspired death metal and Scandinavian black metal. Mayhem, Immortal, The Haunted and Cradle of Filth have name-dropped Necrodeath as inspiration.

Mayhem and their infernal cohorts surely discovered Necrodeath through tape trading because their '80s output was short-lived and very much an underground endeavor. The group broke up in 1989, but reformed nine years later and signed to native record label Scarlet Records. The group has stayed busy since their reformation, releasing an album about every other year. “The Age of Fear” is a fifteen-track compilation that recalls songs through every phase of the band’s career. Additionally, the album contains a live version of “The Theory,” a reworking of “Queen of Desire” and a cover of Slayer’s “Black Magic.”

“The Age of Fear” not only gives listeners a good sampling of Necrodeath’s career, it maps out the band’s evolution. Fans of black/thrash will be happy to know that Necrodeath hasn’t evolved much since early recordings “Into the Macabre” and “Fragment of Insanity.” Sure, they’ve cleaned up their sound quite a bit. Songs such as “Eucharistical Sacrifice” and “At the Mountains of Madness” contain gritty guitars, organic drums and speed well ahead of its time. “Awakening of Dawn,” one of their newer tracks, has its stealthy moments, but changes much more than the older material. With all the old tricks laid out, the group brings the big, crunching groove of modern-day metal on “Burn and Decay.”

“Mater Tenebrarum” has appeared on albums throughout the band’s career. This version sounds too clean to be lifted from an older album. One of the better tracks on the compilations, this track features a melodic interlude, scary vocal effects, blistering drumming and NWOBHM guitar licks. “Master of Morphine” is another track with melody. These melodic moments show the band’s proclivity towards creating atmosphere. “Smell of Blood” begins with guitar feedback that recalls Slayer’s “Raining Blood.”

Over the years, Necrodeath has cleaned up their sound and added more dynamics and groove. Much of these new elements added atmosphere to their supernatural visions. The group still maintains that connection to old school raw thrash, and the group hasn’t lost its speed addiction, even if only in short bursts. If Venom, Mercyful Fate, old Sodom and old Kreator records are sprawled across your living room floor, “The Age of Fear” is mandatory for your collection.

Highs: Necrodeath smoothly fuses acoustic intros with churning groove and break-neck speed.

Lows: The raw production of the older material and snarling vocals may prove too harsh for some listeners.

Bottom line: "The Age of Fear" should appeal to any fan of black/thrash metal.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)