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October 2009
Released: 2009, Self
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Hanntu

H E R F S T is a melodic black/death metal band from Belgium, a country not too widely known for its metal exports. So it’s with justifiable curiosity and not a little trepidation that I take a quick listen to NECROTICA, the band’s debut album.

Think a slightly less overblown later-era Dimmu Borgir – by which I mean scoop out all the unnecessary symphonic bits – crossed with Carcass and Nile, and I think you’ll have a pretty good idea of what 85% of H E R F S T is about. Musically, the harshness of Dietwin’s vocals bring to mind Jeff Walker and even Karl Sanders at times; certain riff sections definitely do echo HEARTWORK and the melodic death era of Carcass - and you can also hear quite a bit of Amon Amarth in there; and while the Dimmu and Nile influence may not be there for all to see or hear, they are present especially in riff ideas and the ear and instinct for a disagreeably good and gnarled melody. Slicing away a lot of Dimmu’s fat around the keyboard section was a great move, this Belgian band is set to go! There are also great slow sections scattered around the album, bringing to mind some really good gothic-doom bands like Forest of Shadows, with occasional clean singing, harmonised twin guitars and driving double bass. I’m of course thinking of the closing song on NECROTICA, ‘Serpent Tongue’, but this is not an isolated example.

The tiniest criticism I’d make is that some of the songs do drag on a little (the entire album is 47 minutes for 8 songs), but that’s really only because I was looking for something to complain about. The overall production is a little flat and underwhelming, and I did have to turn up the volume to really get my teeth into the CD, but that’s also a minor criticism.

There’s really nothing to dislike about a band that is sonically influenced by Dimmu Borgir, Kalmah, Nile and Carcass, and lyrically influenced by gothic horror literature and HP Lovecraft, especially not when it’s as well done as NECROTICA is. It would be a good album regardless of when it was put out, but the achievement is even more outstanding if you consider that this is the band’s debut.
Track Listing

1. Nemesis Dominatrix
2. House of Twilight
3. An Interest in Distress
4. Needle Vortex
5. She Wore Death as a Shroud
6. The Vulture Feast
7. Scarlet Necromance
8. Serpent Tongue


Dietwin Elbers - Vocals
Bram van Cauter - Guitars
Christophe Vandeghinste - Guitars
Kurt Hermans - bass
Ruben Vranken - drums

Other reviews

» Necrotica
by Hanntu

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