Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend Review

The first dive into the promo sump at the start of a new year is fraught with risk and peril. Somewhat refreshed after the ever-so-brief holiday break, you may be a bit too eager to start the year with a winning find. Anticipation and expectation must be carefully managed as you regird the loins and begin the Sisyphus-esque uphill grind. Thus it was with freshly girded loins that I stumbled upon the debut from Sweden’s Necrophagous.1 Formed by members of Entrails and Visceral Bleeding, the band strives to find the perfect balance between old-school death and a somewhat modern sound. In Chaos Ascend ends up being a kind of manic walking tour of 90s and early aughts death metal with a vaguely modern spin on the outer edges. In a nutshell, the material sounds like Covenant/Domination era Morbid Angel sideswiping Vader and Hate Eternal before fleeing the scene (they have no insurance). Clearly, this is an appetizing flavor spectrum to work from, and much of what you get is tasty, nasty and surprisingly hook-laden. And the songs are a lot of angry, ugly fun, enticing me to give it a high grade. Must. Resist. January. Overrating!

Necrophagous know how to lead with a heavy punch. Proper opener “Order of the Lion” is a barn burner of a death number, mining the precious metals of Morbid Angel‘s sound and decorating it with hints of other influential acts from the Florida death scene and beyond. It’s an absolute ripper designed to pound you into assdust, and the way it weaves in odd, proggy guitar segments is inspired. Tracks like the excellent “At Dawn Thee Immolate” deliver just the right blend of blasty, Hate Eternal-esque aggression and ugly, slithering riffs, and the evil doom segment they drop in recalls Morbid Angel‘s “Where the Slime Live” with its disgusting oozing. “Traitors and the Pendulum” is cut from the same high-quality scuzz and is a winning dose of speedy, vicious death with riffs for days, and “Wolf Mother” is the kind of frantic, furious music I need to kick off this new year.

Things are quite consistent as In Chaos Ascends rips and roars along, and the album ends very well with a few killer cuts, most notably, closer “Wrecker of Pain” which shoehorns in ominous Cthulu-conjuring ritual chanting. While there are no bad songs, the title track has a weird Pantera vibe that feels a bit out of place, though it’s a dandy example of deadlifting death.  The more restrained and epic-flavored “Blood on the Stone of Three Monuments” is inspired but sits a bit too close to Morbid Angel‘s works for comfort. These are minor issues though. I’m impressed by the production, as the bass is kept very present and the guitar tone is appropriately ugly. The drums have a warm, vibrant sound and everything sounds in the proper place. The album-length is near perfect at 45 minutes and it’s an easy spin that flies right by.

Tommy Carlsson (Visceral Bleeding, ex-Entrails) leads the attack with some very effective death metal vocals. He’s got the kind of ugly rasp I love and knows how to pattern his vocals for maximum impact. He even adopts some of Archspire‘s vocal acrobatics at times for extra extremity. It’s his guitar-work that really jumps off the platter and codswallops you though. This thing is a riff-fest full of burly, bludgeoning grooves, wild little flourishes, and interesting details, and I assumed there were two axes involved. Every song has its share of memorable guitar hooks and interesting moments. It’s not quite prog or tech death but sometimes strays into those spaces for brief pillaging parties. Jocke Svensson’s impressive bass-work and Martin Michaelsson’s frantic drumming bring the beast home to roost, with killer displays of extreme aggression in every song. This is highly talented trio and they bring strong writing chops to the butcher block as well.

Loath though I am to drop a high score at the beginning of a new year, I’m reminded of the short shrift I gave Revulsion in early 2021. I then lived with that album all year and realized I was a score miser and a fussbudget. Necrophagous will not suffer for my ratings penny-pinching parsimoniousness. In Chaos Ascend is a rabid beast on a rampage, and death aficionados will find much here to love. A promising start to a career and the new year.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Websites: necrophagousband.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/necrophagous.sweden
Releases Worldwide: January 7, 2022

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  1. Yes, yes, I know, I know.
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