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Album Review: NECROPHOBIC In The Twilight Grey

8.5 Reviewer

Sweden's Necrophobic emerged in the early 1990s and immediately established themselves as a unique voice in the world of black and death metal. The band's classic debut, The Nocturnal Silence , stands apart from their contemporaries and from Necrophobic's own catalog. The album's cutting riffs, draped in a dark but minimalist atmosphere, had a black metal edge but still hewed closer to death metal. The band's current sound began to take recognizable shape on 1997's Darkside and set the music on the trajectory it continues to follow to this day.

Since Necrophobic unleashed the triumphant Mark of the Necrogram in 2018, the formula forged across the years was clear: take the riffing structure and core power of The Nocturnal Silence but add thicker-sounding chord progressions, catchy song structures, and anthemic choruses. Songs like "Tsar Bomba" and "Lamashtu" were excellent examples of this. And so the glorious sacrificial rites continue with In the Twilight Grey , the Necrophobic's 10th studio album.

The album begins with the ominous buildup of "Grace of the Past" before unleashing a powerful black metal assault. The guitars gleam, the drums pound, the vocals rip, and it all comes together into a cohesive force. The coolest thing about Necrophobic is probably the variation in guitar-riffing techniques and progressions. It all feels perfectly put together, but never gets staid or boring. I mean, with guitar solos as excellent as the ones on this album, it's hard to get bored.

"Clavis Inferni" gives us our first example of the band's penchant for anthemic choruses. The song will serve the band well on the European festival circuit for sure. Likewise, "As Stars Collide" should definitely get an epic circle pit going.

However, it's with "Stormcrow" that the album really gets moving, with some of Necrophobic's best songwriting on full display. The interplay of the tremolo-picked riffs, harsh vocals, and dazzling drum work is what gives this and many other songs their real strength. Other prominent examples include the sprawling "Shadows of the Brightest Night," the badass "Cast in Stone," and the thunderous title track. Put simply "In the Twilight Grey" is the culmination of everything the album brings to the listener. If someone wants to hear a great example of Necrophobic at their best, you should play this song.

Necrophobic's sound is well-established and you certainly know what you're getting with each album. But that sort of predictability isn't a mark against the band. After all, you really can't have too much good blackened death metal in your life. And albums like this are what keep the black flame alive through the ages. So I say let the stars collide eternally.

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