Greek Black Metal legends, Necromantia were formed in late 1989 by The Magus (bass/vocals) and Baron Blood (8-string bass). Their aim was to create original, powerful and innovatively diabolical music, replacing the usual 6-string guitars with 8-string bass.
Necromantia – To The Depths We Descend (The Circle Music / Hell’s Fire Records / Rabauw Records)
Words: Jools Green
Release Date: 15 October 2021 (Vinyl – 25 November 2021)
Necromantia completed their magical formula, so much so that their first recordings earned them cult status in the Black Metal scene. This formula was built around their original, ritualistic and sinister sound, including their innovative inclusion of “non-Metal” instruments like saxophone and percussions, in addition to their standard Metal orchestrations.
Over the years, they more than achieved their aim, but after Baron Blood’s passing in November 2019, Necromantia announced that they were disbanding. There would be one final EP dedicated to Baron Blood scheduled for 2020. It was delayed to 2021 and expanded into a full length, titled, To The Depths We Descend.
“This is our farewell album,” The Magus says. “This album in itself is a tribute to our member Baron Blood who left the mortal world in November 2019. I decided to write and record the last pieces of music as Necromantia as a farewell to our loyal fans all these years.
“It may sound strange to their ears as we use guitars again, [not used] since our Promo Tape of 1990, but the use of the 8-string bass belongs to Baron Blood, and it will remain with him.
“So here you have six new songs, plus a re-recording of two of our iconic tracks, Lord of The Abyss and The Warlock, which I suggest that you listen to in their entirety, since they represent the many faces of Necromantia’s musical spectrum and each one of them is a story of the whole.
“Our compass was always the desire to deliver quality and innovative extreme dark music and our head may be bloodied, but it is still unbowed.
“So, dive one last time into our wondrous Abyss and let yourself be guided by our music. From the bottom of my soul, I thank you for all your support in all these 32 years of our existence.”
To The Depths We Descend is an impressive listen end to end, powerfully atmospheric and brutally dynamic. Starting with Daemonocentric, opening on a haunting soundscape, then unleashing a meld of dark driving riffing, a blood-curdling scream, followed by a dark spiralling symphonic repeat with an acidic vocal contrast. The eerie mid-point drop builds back up with a dark melodic angle followed by an extensive and sumptuous swathe of searing leadwork. A track that can’t fail to grab your attention.
On As The Shadows Wept (..for Baron Blood), haunting drum and bass rhythms build in sinister increments as the guitar work arrives, melding plodding rhythms with acidic vocals and dark bursts of melody. It builds in intensity to the mid-point, where you get the subtle inclusion of timpani, just enough to add drama but without being excessive. This sets the scene for another impressive burst of leadwork before dropping back to sombre strings and tolling bells—a powerful and emotive piece, particularly for the spoken passage at the close.
Next, Give The Devil His Due, where reflective guitar work gives way to repeat bass lines that build, reverberate, dominate and crush, a simple but powerful instrumental.
Inferno has a decidedly George Emmanuel touch to the sound, slightly reminiscent of his past input with Rotting Christ, adding an exotic angle to this dark, sinister beast of a track.
I love the mix of choral backing voices and a plodding drive that dominates the first couple of minutes of Eldritch before completely switching tack and dropping away to the haunting piano and spoken elements. Filled with sinister intent, the guitar work starts to build, interwoven with keyboard work, culminating in a riff frenzy. Superb.
An intriguing piece, To The Depths We descend, is the second instrumental. Superbly haunting and symphonic to open, it gives way to an expansive segment of reflective saxophone before fading back to the haunting choral work, symphonics and eerie piano.
The final two pieces are reworks of those previously mentioned classic Necromantia tracks from their ’93 album Crossing The Fiery Path; Lord of The Abyss MMXXI and The Warlock MMXXI. I love the originals, but I also love these reworkings, predominantly for the crisper sound.
Thankfully the mix of pomp and filthy tones of the original The Warlock are still maintained, just slightly more polished and with a little more depth.
To The Depths We Descend is an album that Necromantia will certainly be remembered for. It’s varied, superbly unpredictable, fully engaging and a fitting epitaph for Baron Blood.
Available at the following links:
A5 Digi CD (Limited to 1,500 copies): https://thecirclemusic.gr/product/necromantia-to-the-depths-we-descend-limited-%ce%b15-digipack-cd-1-500-copies-bonus-track-poster-printed-partiture/
Digi CD (Limited to 1,500 copies): https://thecirclemusic.gr/product/necromantia-to-the-depths-we-descend-limited-digipack-cd-1-500-copies/
LP by HELL’S FIRE RECORDS (coloured, black, Special Box):
TAPE by RABAUW RECORDS :
DIGITAL DOWNLOAD by official NECROMANTIA Bandcamp: