Review – Necronomicon: Advent of the Human God

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  • Bio: "You may be familiar with NECRONOMICON for their previous releases 2013's 'Rise of The Elder Ones', 2010's 'Return of The Witch', 1999's 'Pharaoh of Gods', 2003's 'The Sacred Medicines' or you may have seen them on tour with bands such as Cradle of Filth, Behemoth, Septic Flesh, ABSU, Deicide, Fleshgod Apocalypse."
    - Press release
  • Label: Season of Mist Records
  • Release Date: March 25th, 2016
  • Genre: Black Metal, Death Metal
  • Website: Visit Website
  • Rating (out of 10):

Canada’s Necronomicon was first forged back in 1988. Even though they issued the Morbid Ritual demo in 1992, and their The Silver Key EP in 1996, it wouldn’t be until eleven years later the band would unleash Pharaoh of Gods, their debut full-length effort. Since then, new recording would become a bit sparse, though rarely ever unimpressive to some degree. A lot of long-time fans will say the group had been steadily maturing between their 2003 album The Sacred Medicines, which is usually the one most fans will say they first heard about the now three-piece band, up to 2013’s Rise of the Elder Ones. So, when it was announced 2016 would see a new album titled Advent of the Human God, those individuals rejoiced at the thought of what could be coming their way. But does this one find the growth paying off, or is it only a leap backwards?

When it comes to Necronomicon‘s work, it’s pretty much a safe bet that you will be met with a great deal of technicality, not to mention ominous or depressing atmospheres. Advent of the Human God is no exception to this. In fact, it manages to surpass most expectations of long time listeners immediately following the introductory classical inspired introduction piece “The Descent”. The title track that follows charges forward with hypnotic melodies that mask the steady blast beats of the drums, broken up by random passages of orchestral scores akin to recent Dimmu Borgir efforts, not to mention vocal effects similar to Shagrath’s, both of which cast a much darker shadow over this release. While beneficial in many ways, especially during the incredibly epic “Unification of The Four Pillars” to help weave the proper Egyptian setting, it’s unfortunate to hear something so distinctively unoriginal incorporated into this otherwise fine effort.

Necronomicon

Of course, the subtle mixture of black metal undertones to the group’s bleak death metal presence carries on through the rest of the release, though does hit a bit of a road block during “The Golden Gods”. The well-paced performance does take its time to mature into the richer climax that takes full advantage of the fast drumming, but up to this point there are plenty of chunks that rely on decent hooks, but lack the bite necessary to make a major impact, a problem that often arises from a three-piece group that doesn’t lay additional rhythm or a strong enough bass guitar presence to the mix. It’s almost the polar opposite of “Crown of Thorns”, which is quite the robust head banging opus. Rich passages that pull the bass chords forward, not to mention a little more variety in the drumming all around, really makes this particular cut stand out above the rest, asserting itself as the definitive performance from this effort guaranteed to get the pit whipped up in a frenzy. From here on out, the torch this one lights continues forward, even into the closing track “Alchemy of The Avatar”, which has more of a gothic touch, especially in the natural sounding piano notes that hit about half way through.

Advent of the Human God stays in line with the delusional ramblings of The Mad Arab himself, or so it feels given the vast deserted wastelands of his time period that make up the foundation of this blistering new creation. Like always, Necronomicon present a new recording that feels like more of an experience than just your average collection of atmospherically charged compositions in or outside the scope of a conceptual release, and its that dark imagery surrounding H.P. Lovecraft‘s ancient ones and their influence in humanity that continues to remain center stage in the death metal community despite being criminally overlooked. As mentioned, the main gripes behind this release are the less-than-original symphonic and vocal elements, primarily at the start, and the few thinner performances that come about for the sake of melody over brutality. Thankfully a lot of these faults are few and far between, blessing the listener with a nightmarish journey to the shores of R’lyeh once more you’ll find yourself helpless to take time and time again.

Necronomicon

Digital review copy of this release provided by Season of Mist Records via Season of Mist Records.