Necrophobic Show Their Relevance With Stunning Tenth Album

This funny old world of Heavy Metal continues to throw the odd curve ball at you from time to time. It’s less likely that I will dip my toe into the darkest waters of the evil side of Black Metal, but when it comes to Necrophobic, then I’m racing to join the queue.

Necrophobic – In The Twilight Grey (Century Media)

Release Date: 15 March 2024

Words: Paul Hutchings

Their 2018 and 2020 albums, Mark Of The Necrogram and Dawn Of The Damned, were both phenomenally good records, building on a legacy crafted over three decades.

Although Necrophobic’s touring ambitions were initially slightly blunted by the pandemic, their touring regime when the world opened back up led to a slight delay in songwriting.

Necrophobic – In The Twilight Grey, as ferocious and powerful as anything the band has ever released
Necrophobic – In The Twilight Grey, as ferocious and powerful as anything the band has ever released

Surprisingly, it’s not all the work of guitarist, chief songwriter, and conceptual visionary Sebastian Ramstedt this time around on what is their tenth release. “This time it was actually Tobias [Cristiansson], our new bass player, who had a lot of demos,” Ramstedt says. “It didn’t sound anything like Necrophobic, but these were attempts at writing songs, and I felt that kick-starting my own writing.

“Tobias had written eight or nine songs, more in a classic Thrash, Death Metal vein, but still some of the riffs had something. So, I sprinkled the Necrophobic powder over four or five of his riffs, and then the songs started to build from there”.

That special powder has worked its magic once more, for In The Twilight Grey is without doubt as ferocious and powerful as anything the band has ever released.

Described as having a colder atmosphere than previous releases, it’s another opportunity for vocalist Anders Strokirk to add his inimitable blackened phrasing to proceedings. The fact he does that with such ease, spewing forth his lyrics with venom over a distinctly old-school flavour, is mere testimony to the sheer intensity that Necrophobic can conjure up.

Necrophobic who release In The Twilight Grey
Necrophobic who release In The Twilight Grey on 15 March 2024

Inevitably, the subject matter remains rooted in darkness and horror. You wouldn’t have or expect it to come at you in any other manner. Drawing the title from a poem by Yeats, Ramstedt has turned to the earlier works of the band this time around.

The result is surely one of the best Black Metal releases not just of 2024 but of the previous few years. There’s both an old-school and contemporary feel here, with the combined power of Ramstedt, Strokirk, Cristiansson, rhythm guitarist Johan Bergebäck and drummer Joakim Sterner drawing together in one fiery album that is full of passion and emotion.

Highlights are many. The brutality that Necrophobic possess in spades is present from the thumping opener Grace Of The Past to the conclusion of Ascension (Episode Four).

Dive in deeply to inhale the darkness on Stormcrow, a track dripping with atmospheric intent. Plenty of melody enhances the song, with some beautifully crafted guitar work adding to the mix.

You can indulge in the might of the centrepiece of the album, the seven-and-a-half minutes of Shadows Of The Brightest Night, which shimmers with a ghostly malevolence as it wends its way. A deep, at times almost claustrophobic track that threatens to overwhelm, the mid-part explosion to increased tempo merely drives it forward. That it refrains to a more controlled yet still sinister feel detracts not one bit.

It’s matched by the epic title track that appears close to the finale.

Another richly intense and pulverising heavy track, this is classic Necrophobic and one that should appeal equally to old and new fans.

There is enough frenetic tempo to please the old school, whilst the retro sound is still an attraction to newcomers. It may be 35 years since the first shoots of Necrophobic formed, but on this showing, there is no sign that the Swedes are even thinking of easing back.

Sleeve Notes

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