Review: Necrophobic — In the Twilight Grey

Band: Necrophobic
Album: In the Twilight Grey
Genre: Blackened Death Metal
Country: Sweden
Label: Century Media Records
Released: March 15, 2024

Introduction

In 2024, it’s time to make the case for Necrophobic being one of the most consistent bands, not only in black metal, but metal as a whole.

Necrophobic is back with their tenth album, four years after their latest release. Originally, a part of the burgeoning Stockholm scene starting in the late 80s, Necrophobic has built quite the discography for themselves, differentiating themselves from most bands of their era with their unique mix of different metal genres. Initially influenced by Slayer and other early death metal pioneers, Necrophobic would take a different path from their fellow Stockholm bands that were gaining moderate mainstream success with their strain of groovy buzz saw death metal. Necrophobic instead opted for a more melodic blend of death metal and black metal, reminiscent of Dissection or even Finnish doom-death, rather than anything from Stockholm. While they would never reach the level of success of Dismember or Entombed. Their recognizable style paid off eventually, as they are still going strong after more than thirty years with no weak moments in their career.

In the Twilight Grey

Although their debut is widely regarded as their greatest effort, it was on their second album Darkside that Necrophobic really defined their sound, adding more complex double guitar melodies and moving overall to a more mid-range, black metal register. Since then, the band has more or less stayed in this lane. Such is the case with their newest album, apically titled In The Twilight Grey. The sound of this album is intense, pristine, and melodically dense. Necrophobic flexes their ability to write multilayered, dark melodies that are both catchy and evil. There are often three, even four guitars playing simultaneously, which would make K. K. Downing and Glenn Tipton proud.

Track list:

  1. Grace of the Past
  2. Clavis Inferni
  3. As Stars Collide
  4. Stormcrow
  5. Shadows of the Brightest Night
  6. Mirrors of a Thousand Lakes
  7. Cast in Stone
  8. Nordanvind
  9. In the Twilight Grey
  10. Ascension (Episode Four)

The album opener Grace of the Past lures the listener in with a wonderful clean melody which evolves into a merciless blast beating verse. The song transitions to a mid-pace triplet section in the middle, where the band blends in some hints of heavy metal as well as adding a nice solo. The second track ups the energy, sounding like a modernized version of Burzum’s Ea, with a devastatingly evil chorus. As Stars Collide sounds almost folk with its lead guitar melody, but with a hint of darkness underlying it. Stormcrow has one of the most immediately catchy choruses in recent black metal. Every song has these moments that make them stand out without interfering with the flow and coherence of the album.

Shadows of the Brightest Night and the title track are both seven-minute epics. I prefer the former — I find the title track to be a bit of an underwhelming closer with its upbeat chorus, although it has grown on me on re-listens. But both tracks allow the band to showcase all the tricks in their sleeves. Shadows starts with a tritone-based riff, a rare case where the tritone ends up sounding very pleasant and even melodic, thanks to the layers of guitar. This riff acts as the main theme of the song, rather than just a throwaway intro. The band does switch things up with a chuggy verse riff and an atmospheric chorus. The techniques on display aren’t necessarily anything new, but it’s the seamless flow of a lengthy song like this that really proves the experience and skill of these musicians.

Conclusion

I really can’t think of anything negative to say about this album. The performances are excellent. There is no riff wasted, and the songs are just versatile and enough to keep you engaged for the whole run time. Vocalist Anders Strokirk, who contributed vocals to Nocturnal Silence and returned to the band in 2014 after a two-decade break, sounds exceptional for a 52-year-old, which almost makes me wish the vocals were mixed louder on some songs.

With this tenth album, I firmly believe that Necrophobic has achieved the status of one of the most consistent metal bands in history. Their legacy lives on in metal, as they have been cited as an influence by some of the most promising new bands like Mefitis, for a good reason.

BMZ Rating: 9 out of 10

Your Thoughts on In the Twilight Grey

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