Reviewed: May, 2018
Released: 2018 The Sign Records
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
By my count, there now are eight bands in my iTunes promo music folder sporting either the “Nekro” or “Necro” prefix in their moniker – from the ridiculous, like Necrolytic Goat Converter, Necrodancer and Necropanther, to the classic Necrophobic and the utterly redundant Necrodeath. And this doesn’t include Nekrogoblikon, who I reviewed here last month.
Which leads us to the subject of this month’s “Nekro” review: Nekrokraft. The Swedish black/death/thrash quintet look a bit like countrymen Marduk with their sparse splashes of corpse paint, but have a broader-based, though still quite brutal, sound on this their full-length debut, which even has moments of symphonic grandeur in its keyboard/string flourishes and backing choirs. Given that, and their fondness for using “ov” instead of “of,” they bear some resemblance to Poland’s Hate and Behemoth – or at least as they were a decade or so ago.
Oddly enough, after showing their classical hand early on with the opening tracks “March ov Ahriman” and “Lechery,” Nekrokraft largely push it to the background in favor of full-on on metal fire and fury, albeit with an epic air on “Rotten Husk” and “Brimstone and Flames,” both of which push six minutes. Anchored by snarling vocalist Angus “Angst” Norder, who also fronts thrash veterans Witchery, the band’s delivery is raw, feral and at times just plain blasphemous, as on the growled “Hail Satan, Hail Lucifer” chant that concludes “Brimstone and Flames.”
“Servants ov the Black,” and “Gateway to Damnation” are absolute scorchers, while “Dance ov the Nekrolythes” and “Eternal, I Am” offer more of an ebb-and-flow dynamic and are about as complex as the band gets here. “Plague” adds a some extra death metal vehemence and brings the album to a resounding close – death knells and all.
The brash, emphatic production on Servants ensures things never get too slick or fancy, despite the orchestral polish. The band’s natural, unbridled performance helps as well, giving the album a live-like sound with plenty of raw power. Of all the “Necro/Nekros” on the roster here, these guys come in a close second to Necrophobic, who have been around a hell of a lot longer.