Dutch death/occult metallers AntropomorphiA formed in 1989 (originally named Dethroned Empire.) Hailing from Tilburg, Holland the band admit that they have been heavily influenced by Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Infernäl Mäjesty and Bathory.
Last year saw the three-piece band getting together to record a new album: Evangelivm Nekromantia. They also re-released their Necromantic Love Songs through the famed underground label The Crypt in a vinyl package (which also combined their first demo – Bowel Mutilation).
Evangelivm Nekromantia consists of nine tracks, divided into three chapters (three songs in each). Songs are inspired by amorally abhorrent themes such as murder, necrophilia and necrolesbian lust.
This disquietingly dark death metal extravaganza starts off formidably with a Nekrophilian Mass (after a disingenuous introduction track.) Guitars sounds are inhaled and exhaled with sclerotic insistence. Then the vocals grumble into view. Flumes of powerful voice spiral upwards, licked and flickered by vertiginous spikes of painful guitar. A hollow bass-heavy beat soon wallows and bounds into earshot (courtesy of Marc van Stiphout) which moves along like an injured beast. Heavy footed, the beast stumbles dangerously close to fearsome chasms of power, blinded by the fear of those increasingly fluorescent guitars.
The Mourned and the Macabre hovers into being next. A relentless battering of drums thundered against fluid streams of white-gold-guitar work. An ossuary of voices starts bleeding, and begins to rot and decay before your eyes. And the clamour of brutal guitars becomes intolerable as they start to gorge themselves on the residual strips of skin that survive the endless tears of power. A plaintive riff breathes a kind of lamented terror into your heart. How can succumb to such heat without end?
The startling rhythms in Debauchery in Putrefaction have a church-bell regularity that will exhort the imminent arrival of despair. Wretched spiralling drums create a vast under-current of turbulent power. The groans and poignant moans from Ferry Damen (vocals and guitar) add a sooty lustre to the anthemic piece. Lanky black, agitated guitars complete this celebration of indulgently fizzing necrolagnic sacrifice.
Anointment By Sin is furious and masterful. An elevated reality created out of sun-blinded delirium. Then Fleisch bowls into sight. This rust-bucket full of guitars and throbbing, bickering drums creates a rotten thick syrup of resinous sounds. These seem as if they were expelled painfully against decadent riffs and futile head-banging beats. This is as monstrous as it is magnificent.
A high-point of this album is the distinguished track Impure Desecration which has that kind of aching, angular riff that you have always wished for. It seems soaked in thick blood. The pace, when it emerges, is powerful and resolute. And the influence of the ashen vocal gradually whips up a totalising sense of decay. The real pain, catastrophic when it comes, might be too much to bear. You may need to transform, if you want to survive it.
Psuchagogia is the ritual of raising the souls of the dead. And for some kind of fantasy necrophiliac purposes. This song flaps down like a bat scavenging on the wing. Fascinating and terrifying in equal measure. At the 3 minute mark we reach a kind of spiritual awakening when a geyser of fresh water foams up from the booming bass notes, creating an awakening baptism.
Nekrosophia follows on quickly. This song rapidly develops, and it is packed with missionary zeal. Elongated guitars fluster about. And then a rapid burst of sickening fast drums (Marco Stubbe) creates a set of steaming vortices from which the bass must clamber from to escape.
The final bewitching track Evangelivm Nekromantia is steeped in sacrificial body fluids. As the storm clouds gather ominously above, a unique guitar picks its way carefully towards a final goal. And, as you share in his certain death, little by little, you realize that in the end, life is just a hiss and a gasp. And that’s it.
This Necromorbus mastered album is a profusion of richly decorated embleming music. Full of great rhetoric. At its heart, this is a majestic beast. The sounds are exorbitant and rich. It has a strength of will that is refined and powerful. Even so, it may still seem a little ‘undercooked’ for some tastes.