Reviewed: December 2021
Released: 2021, The Circle Music
Reviewer: Demitri Levantis
Albums can be released to mark all sorts of events, such as the start of a band’s career, a moment where a band made it big time, or in this case, a memorial to a former member whose passing led to the band’s respectful demise.
“To the Depths we Descend,” the fifth and final album from the Greek black metal veterans Necromantia, is the latest of these memorial albums, commemorating the life and loss of the band’s founder, Baron Blood, who passed away in 2019. Featuring the excellent George Emmanuel (Rotting Christ, Lucifer’s Child) on guitar and keyboard, this is the farewell tome from one of the bands who made the Hellenic black metal scene the incredible powerhouse of metal might it is today.
Everything is here, from ferocious thrash metal style riffs to some excellent blackened death growls from Magus Wampyr Daoloth. It feels sad knowing I will never see these guys live in concert again – especially with a farewell like this – but I have a good feeling this is how Baron Blood wanted the band to end.
Necromantia’s typical themes of vampirism, satanic worship, otherworldliness and the horrors of the unknown populate the lyrics, written with poetic aplomb and the instrumentals: “Give the Devil his Due” and “To the Depths we Descend…” are as spine-tingling as the rest. My personal favourite is “Eldritch” for its precision drumming and the re-recordings of “Lord of the Abyss” and “The Warlock” are more than impressive.
Overall, some of the finest musicians of Greece’s greatest music scene have come together to pay tribute to one of the best musicians of the last 30 years and have let the band pass on into the underworld with the applause and praise it deserves.
On the most personal level, Necromantia were one of the bands who made me proud to be Greek and told the world how the most influential nation of Europe is still inspiring other groups of artists and musicians with some of the most original and risk-taking metal in existence. It is quite radical knowing this was a band who exploded onto the black metal scene in the early 90s with two bassists and no guitars, so this is the album it deserves to go out with one hell of a bang.
I bid farewell to Necromantia with this excellent piece of black metal which is made with all the might and power of the gods who are smiling down from Olympus at the people who worship them in the evilest of ways. This is Hellenic excellence put to music.