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Calix. Utero. Babalon.

Funeral Industries (2013)
Rating: 5/10

These Italian black metal masters have been doing the rounds in some form since the tail end of the 1980s, initially under the moniker of Massacrator, then as Dark Lust, before the Necromass name change came into fruition in 1992.

The quartet has churned out some notable releases, such as their second opus from 1996 entitled Abyss Calls Life. Calix. Utero. Babalon. is the band’s third full-length offering – a ten-track affair that blends together melodic death metal with blackened thrash and it’s the thrashy injection that gives this record its quality.

One only has to hear the weighty chug of ‘Dawn Of Silver Star’ to appreciate the hint of New York-styled thrash, although in general this platter is far removed from anything remotely moshing. For a start, the vocals of Ain Soph Aour (who also plays bass) are a dry, vicious rasp which coat the frothing, speedy guitars of J.C. Chaos and Nachzehrer Mara. The occult influence is clear here with the band vomiting out such nefarious tunes as ‘Chapel Of Abominations’, ‘The Bornless One’ and the seething ‘Ad Luciferis Vim’, which reek of mid-90s black metal, combining weighty, kicking drums (from Charun) and seething riffs which are often quite weighty rather than regressive and primitive.

Nercomass, despite the influence of almighty Satan, is quite a polished and well-matured act which readily slips between faster melodies and then slower, accessible segments. Sadly though the band offer nothing new and sound like a million other modern black metal acts, despite their attempts at audible impurity. I’m left cold by the rather boring pace of the whole affair and tracks such as ‘Scarlet Void Of Lust’ and ‘Beyond The Veil Of Shame And Glory’ zip past without any real effect.

Necromass play the sort of metal that left me with icicles on my testicles back in the early to mid 90s, but once you’ve heard a whole host of Norwegian and Swedish black metal acts this sort of stuff becomes tiresome very quickly. Thankfully, Necromass do not revert to too many orchestral moments, but neither do they have the imagination to stand out from the corpse-painted crowd, and I find myself saying this about so many of the more recent black metal bands.

Admittedly, I do quite like the vocal sneer of Ain Soph Aour, and once again revert back to ‘Dawn Of Silver Star’ which sees the singer at his most potent and varied, alongside those accessible melodies, but for the most part Calix. Utero. Babalon. is a rather bland affair that sits alongside the 2013 Lightning Swords Of Death as a lasting reminder as to why modern blackened thrash can often be flawed.

Neil Arnold

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