Necrophagia: WhiteWorm Cathedral

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Necrophagia: WhiteWorm Cathedral
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Necrophagia: WhiteWorm Cathedral
Death Metal
Season of Mist Records
October 28th, 2014
Release length: 52:45
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Ohio’s Necrophagia is one of those Death Metal bands that have been greatly overlooked, not to mention incredibly misunderstood. Brainchild of Frank “Killjoy” Pucci (ex-Viking Crown), the Horror themed band came to life in 1983, unleashing six demos over the years before finally putting out Season of the Dead, their debut full-length album. Not long after, however, the entity split-up, but a follow-up album titled Ready for Death still found its way out of the underground in 1990. By 1998, the group reactivated and has yet to really slow down. A number of EPs, some videos, and a couple splits lined out the time between 1998’s Holocausto de la Morte and their sixth album Deathtrip 69 in 2011. It has been three years with only a single dropping in 2013, and Necrophagia return once more with WhiteWorm Cathedral, their seventh full-length in total. But is this another superb release from the group, or is it as flawed as the previous outing?

Necrophagia has always been a fairly strong Death Metal act over the years, even though their last outing sounded a bit weak thanks to the overall audio quality. Thankfully this is not an issue with WhiteWorm Cathedral. The general sound of the recording has a decent amount of bulk to it which carries a grim and haunting atmosphere that is as blunt and distortion heavy as it is fairly crisp and digital. “Reborn Through Black Mass” starts off a bit analog with the audio sample used, met with slower paced material that plods along as if in some kind of trance, only really offering any changes to the timid speed in small bursts, such as the complex guitar solo, or even just some keyboards for added effect. While it has its moments, it definitely doesn’t set up the album well other than solid execution.

And that’s the thing about this album. Much of WhiteWorm Cathedral is ly catchy, well paced songs that are solid for what they are, but rarely offer anything too memorable in the long run. This isn’t a bad thing in the long run though, really. “Coffins” is a fairly laid back performance full of infectious, hard-hitting riffs that the mixture of distant and distorted vocals against the closer sinister rasp perfectly suits. The chorus does find some extra energy at work, not to mention the bass guitar stealing the show as far support goes, all creating a heavy Death Metal cut you will happily come back to anytime. “Fear the Priest” has a simpler drum beat to it, but this one ly relies on the subtle melody found mixed into the traditional chugging of the guitars that make up much of the song’s main verses.

Of course, this isn’t to say the whole album sounds that way. There are times where Necrophagia does throw in some additional enthusiasm, though they seem to appear later on. “Elder Things” is just a far more abrasive track, showing off a tight performance with just the right amount of hostility to have you on edge in the main verses, but banging your head obediently to the crushing groove driven chorus with deeper layered vocals to build up the commanding attitude. “Вий” handles itself the same way, but without the deeper tone to the overlapping vocals. “Hexen Nacht” sports some passages with extra technicality, especially behind the audio chunks that crop up throughout the performance. The chorus, however, ends up a bit too reminiscent of Deicide. Meanwhile “The Dead Among Us” climbs into a truly ominous conclusion that is the most epic aspect of this recording you will come across.

WhiteWorm Cathedral is far from one of the most engaging Necrophagia recordings released up to this point, but there’s no denying it’s still a strong one. A good chunk of the album is nothing but rich distortions and well executed drums hitting you with everything they’ve got, all the while moving along in a fluid pace that makes a sizeable chunk of the album sound natural and never over-thought as far as the progression goes. If anything, WhiteWorm Cathedral can be looked at as the standard Necrophagia recording in the modern day: Everything you have come to know and love about the band, but with a crisp, somewhat digital influence that in no way lets the fans down. If you’re familiar with the group and on the edge about this album, or even if you’re a newcomer who only recently heard the name, WhiteWorm Cathedral is just a damn good release well worth having readily available no matter where you are.

01. Reborn Through Black Mass – 3:56
02. Вий – 3:41
03. Angel Blake – 4:00
04. Warlock Messiah – 3:19
05. Fear the Priest – 4:34
06. Elder Things – 3:31
07. Coffins – 4:08
08. Hexen Nacht – 4:06
09. Rat Witch – 5:35
10. March of the Deathcorp(s)e – 4:13
11. Silentium vel Mortis – 2:30
12. The Dead Among Us – 4:29
13. WhiteWorm Cathedral – 4:43
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

Necrophagia
Necrophagia

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