Cadaveric Incubator – Nightmare Necropolis Review

In The Beyond, Italian director Lucio Fulci’s second film in what’s commonly referred to as the “Gates of Hell Trilogy,” an entombed carcass is exhumed and, before an autopsy is conducted, is hooked up to a brainwave machine thanks to a lab tech with a sense of humor. Thankfully the room had a “Do Not Entry” sign so the fellow had some privacy. In Nightmare Necropolis, the second record from Finnish death metal band Cadaveric Incubator, the band takes influence from Entombed, Carcass, Exhumed, and Autopsy. A tree with breasts, a puking skeleton, and what looks like a very sad frog atop a tombstone adorn the cover thanks to an illustrator with a sense of humor. Let’s ignore the sign(s) and entry into the necropolis.

I’ve already mentioned the influences at work in Cadaveric Incubator’s sound, but they have a spiritual companion in the underrated and reliable Cardiac Arrest. While I enjoy Cardiac Arrest more overall, both bands write and play “total death” which here means death metal with no deviations, odd surprises, or unwanted experimentation. Even their production styles are similar with regards to Cardiac Arrest’s The Day That Death Prevailed, as both bands employ an unpolished yet still clear sound which happily sounds like a few dudes ripping through songs in a basement, although Cardiac Arrest had a more aggressive bass tone and less dynamic range. There’s an underdog appeal, as both bands come across as humble fellows who just love death metal and want to put more of it into the world. Bands like this seem aware that they’re not going to dethrone the classic acts and records which influenced them, but still head out to the studio and dive bars to leave it all on the stage/floor/what have you. I for one appreciate honesty and what’s in the tin matching what’s on it. To that end, Cadaveric Incubator could never be accused of misleading or false advertising.

It’s almost redundant to rattle off highlights. Gurgling vocals akin to Symphonies of Sickness pop up here and there, and they work notably well in “Necropolis.” Guitar solos akin to the beginning of “Left Hand Path” make a positive difference in “Frenzied Hatred,” adding to the song’s already high energy. “Coffin Defiler” has a quintessential Mental Funeral crawl seasoned to taste with whatever’s in Finland’s water that makes Finnish death metal bands sound a certain way, and every time that part came up I liked it a little more. Giving us about thirty minutes of death metal, Cadaveric Incubator knows how to keep the listener’s attention and stop before losing it. I appreciate when bands don’t force lesser material onto a record to fill more of a CD.

Appreciation is, at the end of the day, what I’m left with each time Nightmare Necropolis ends. It doesn’t threaten the death metal pantheon whatsoever and doesn’t reach the modern death metal heights of a band like Undergang. Nevertheless, I’m happy records like Nightmare Necropolis exist, as sometimes a reliably good death metal record that doesn’t want to challenge you or make you think too hard is exactly what you need. It’s similar to cooking hot dogs over a campfire – simple, enjoyable, and delightfully decent. It’ll never be the best meal you’ve ever had, but it’s hard not to be content when you’re done. From cover to contents, Nightmare Necropolis oozes honest death metal fun.

I have nothing negative whatsoever to say about Nightmare Necropolis. It’s not held back by anything, and instead achieves goodness with aplomb. This is the kind of record a lot of people end up listening to more than critic-bait stuff like Ad Nauseam. The reason for this is simple: bands like Cadaveric Incubator play a familiar tune well, and familiarity is fun. We end up paying attention because we don’t have to pay attention, picking out little details organically like the nice Hell Awaits influence in “Through the Flesh” or the catchy vocal patterns in “World Necrosis” instead of trying to figure out what weird time signature that thing resembling a riff is in eight minutes into the song. Nightmare Necropolis is well-executed everyman death metal, a respectable release that does what you want and expect it to do, no more and certainly no less. As earnest B-movies can be a lot of fun, so too can earnest B-metal. That’s where Cadaveric Incubator resides here, and I’m perfectly fine with that as I spin Nightmare Necropolis again.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Website: |
Releases Worldwide: May 14th, 2021

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