Necronoclast - Ashes
Moribund Cult
Black Metal
7 songs (44')
Release year: 2011
Moribund Cult
Reviewed by Alex

Productive one-man Scottish unit Necronoclast is on its fourth offering since being born half a decade ago, the second for Moribund, but has remained a total unknown for me. I suspect this is the case for many a black metal fan. Trying to channel his inner demons honestly, Greg Edwards steers close to the original Northern raw black metal template, while weaving some more obvious melodies and tuning his vocals lower, more into the aggressive death metal range.

Ashes does not waste any time hitting the listener with a wall-of-sound distorted guitars and indecipherable machine-programmed blasting percussion. All of this rawness eventually crushes into a twisted solo, but the whole track is one squiggling amalgam of pride, sadness, tortured screams and unbridled emotion. In fact, honest passion is what eventually elevates Ashes above a cohort of bands preaching at the same altar. When Edwards plays fast, he is truly ravishing with his rhythms and moping melodies (Veil of Flies), or thundering, intense and pushing all the way to the end (Ravenous). His slower tracks are an epitome of grim, with a capital G, the level of desperation in title track and Ghostways is unbearable. Even when double bass punches through the fabric (title track) it is there only to emphasize the gruesome bleakness, not to speed the trajectory of the song. The quieter acoustic sections of Ghostways and, especially, Veil of Flies represent the complete overload and collapse of the aforementioned emotions, with vocals taking on horrible vomitous screams, the rest of Veil of Flies trying to pick up the slow dismal procession, meathooks of the riffs continuing to dig deep.

The grief boils over the top and pours out in the finale Kajicnicke Daty, the final solo razoring the veins wide open. As much as Necronoclast is trying to stir tempest early on Ashes, the album finally succumbs into cathartic state where one needs to find inner determination to press on, teeth firmly clasped. That is exactly the state of mind I found myself enjoying the album the most. Trying to overanalyze Ashes one will inevitably hear repeating riffs and cacophony. The album is best when you take on an aloof distracted posture, vacate your mind, wanting nothing of this world’s worries and problems. Just send it all to hell, accept the doomed slow walk, and the fabric of Ashes should make sense.

Far from unique, with obvious references to the early masters of the genre, Necronoclast manages to eventually bribe with intensity and sincerity. Being more melodic, or bringing those melodies to the surface, would not have hurt the album while putting even more individual prospective on it.

Killing Songs :
Serpents, Veil of Flies, Kajicnicke Daty
Alex quoted 70 / 100
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