As I’m typing this, I’m in the most comfortable of cargo shorts and death metal t-shirts. Birds harmonize from the tops of leafless trees as my eyes and nostrils water due to flowers, weeds, and various fauna having a mass self-orgy. Yep, it’s springtime here in the realm of the Grymm, and yours truly isn’t quite prepared for the eventual descent into summer1. So what’s a man-cat to do to try to cool off just a little bit more? As I’m currently out of ice cream, it only makes sense to crank some icy-chill black metal from the happiest of lands: Norway! Nordjevel‘s second album, Necrogenesis2, has already been hyped up to the sky due to the additions of guitarist Destructhor (ex-Zyklon/-Morbid Angel) and drummer Dominator (ex-Dark Funeral) in their ranks. With that much kvlt cred, it’s a lot of hype to live up to.
And thankfully, Necrogenesis largely lives up to such lofty expectations, and in a few ways exceeds them. Granted, it took a few listens for the album to really open up. “Sunset Glow” capably sets up the album with all the pieces in place: razor-sharp tremolo riffs, frantic double-bass-peppered drums, DezeptiCunt’s marginally existent bass, and Doedsadmiral’s3 raspy hisses and shrieks don’t do much to separate themselves from the myriad of other Norwegian black metal luminaries, but nothing sticks out as inherently bad, either. All four men are capable musicians, and “Sunset Glow” gets the job done without any key moments or bad hiccups.
But as the album progresses, from fifth track “Amen Whores” on forward, that’s where Necrogenesis begins to shine like an obsidian idol in the cold, frigid wastelands. Most albums tend to pack their best songs in the front half. Instead, Necrogenesis just builds and builds, with Destructhor riffing like a madman on “Amen Whores” and closing standout “Panzerengel.” The latter also has one of the heaviest buildups near the end of the song, with Destructhor crafting a simple-yet-brutally satisfying militaristic riff while Dominator provides cadence, adding on quicker double-bass progressions and impressive tom fills, providing a driving, heavy air to the song. Meanwhile, “The Fevered Lands” features some of Destructhor’s tastiest riffs in the chorus section, cementing his spot as one of black metal’s most underrated riff writers out there. His performance on Necrogenesis serves as a thrown gauntlet to other guitarists in the scene, showcasing both surgical precision and undeniable hooks.
Even the production places Necrogenesis above its contemporaries, not sounding too compressed or heavily brickwalled. Of course, the bass takes a hit, but Destructhor and Dominator come across crystal clear with murderous intent. Sadly, Necrogenesis‘ front half doesn’t hit with the same power and precision that the last four songs expertly demonstrate, coming across like too many black metal albums before. Also, there are times where parts go on for too long, such as 3:19-4:34 of “The Fevered Lands.” Some tighter editing, as well as a bit of a shuffle in the tracklist, can do wonders for them.
That said, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve been impressed by a black metal album, and Nordjevel dropped one icy-cold, catchy-as-fuck sophomore album. Necogenesis doesn’t reinvent the wheel so much as it adds some chains to them so it can traverse the frigid snow for more destruction and tempered chaos. While most of the States are happy to escape the bite of winter, I can enjoy it for just a little while longer. Necrogenesis and chill, anyone?