January 13th, 2012
Release length: 31:52
Sticking with the underground sound, Rise, Vulcan Spectre retains a strong raw tone that feeds into the dismal atmosphere of their material. Nothing is really muffled, but the audio sounds a bit septic, as if recorded in the catacombs with an analog studio. The vocals sound sinister and full of energy with a nice echo effect utilized, superbliy complimenting the eighties Thrash tone they clearly going for. The guitars have a bit of a sharper distortion to them, but end up pushed back in the mix a little bit, though still loud enough that you can tell the difference between them and the slightly louder bass that you can easily pick up on. It adds more than simple support to the effort, really coming through during the solos despite there being a seperate guitar track for rhythm even though there’s only one physical guitarist involved. The drumming sounds really strong as well, having a deeper, fuller sound that can sometimes come across a bit tighter here and there, or a bit distant from the microphones, while the kicks have a nice thud that compliments it all. The cymbals have a nice natural sound to them, though like the snares can come thorugh a bit distant. When crashed hard, they really stand out, yet never dominate over anything instead of nicely filling things out like they already do.
Rise, Vulcan Spectre is a great throwback to the early days of Thrash, but not afraid to sound a little sinister. The music, much like the vocals, has a great energy behind it despite being a lower volume level in comparison, but it works in the album’s favor. “Cast Down to the Void” kicks right in with unstoppable force, highlighting the drive Nekromantheon brings thanks to the dismal and sinister music in a violent, faster pace, hooking the listener right away. Sometimes the held guitar chords can bring in a bit of emptiness, though the bass does manage to mask it well enough, and come the three minute mark things slow down more than before, ushering in a genuinely creepy environment as it fades out. While this stands out as one of the more impressive offerings, it doesn’t brace the listener for the sheer adrenaline on display with “Blood Wisdom,” which can easily make you want to break down and mosh right on the spot. The early Venom-esque style and atmosphere is palpable, coming off like a gem from the early eighties just recently unearthed to rip your throat out, especially when the short but sweet guitar solo kicks in and amps up the intensity even more. This is one of the shortest songs, but for good reason as it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome and leaves you crippled on your knees begging for more.
And more is exactly what you get in many of the latter tracks. However, “Rise, Vulcan Spectre” is the definitive example, blending a high speed brutality with a strong rhythm that will have you banging your head right along. The chorus is infectious with a simpler lyrical presence, as well as more technical chords that greatly stand out against the bass-drive verses. But, speed and aggression are not everything to Rise, Vulcan Spectre, as there’s plenty of other elements to discover, such as the mid-paced and groove-heavy “Embrace the Oracle.” Mandatory head banging does ensue right away, but it can be broken a bit as the solo does usher in a change in speed, which is rather sad since the material is solid enough the way it was. This approach is actually rather limited, being found here, as well as on the following “Coven of the Minotaur,” which has a much stronger and commanding presence than “Embrace the Oracle,” but not to the point where it overshadows it or any other song on the release.
Nekromantheon has once again put together a superb, aggressive Thrash Metal assault that stands out amid the many bands during this age of revival. There’s a decent amount of variety to this little over thirty minute experience, and what is present definitely fits the flow and atmosphere of the release, though could have been expanded on for maybe one more track aside “Embrace the Oracle” and “Coven of the Minotaur.” If you have never heard of this three-piece from Norway before and call yourself any sort of Thrash fan, then you need to pick up Rise, Vulcan Spectre right away or turn in your Metal honor. With plenty of replay value, it’s a purchase you easily won’t soon regret.
01. Cast Down to the Void – 4:14
02. Blood Wisdom – 2:51
03. Embrace the Oracle – 3:50
04. Coven of the Minotaur – 4:02
05. The Usurper Command – 4:35
06. Rise, Vulcan Spectre – 3:56
07. Twelve Depths of Hades – 3:48
08. Raised by Dogs – 4:37
|Overall Score: 9.5/10
Digital review copy of this release provided by Indie Recordings.