Necropsy – Exitus (Xtreem Music, 21 January 2020)
It’s hard to believe, but here we are in mid-February and once again the temperature here in Pittsburgh is right around 50° (that’s 10° to you non-Americans)! Believe me, I am not complaining one bit, but we’ve really had an atypically mild winter so far. But we can still get into the winter spirit if we so choose, by tailoring our musical selections accordingly. Frigid black metal often helps, but another way to embrace a similar mood could be with Scandinavian doomy death metal. That’ll be our agenda for today.
Formed over 30 years ago in the city of Lahti (southern Finland), and having undergone a couple name changes, several line-up changes, and even a decade-and-a-half hiatus; Necropsy re-emerged in the late ’00s, finally following up a long series of 1990s demos with full-length albums in 2011 and 2015.
This January ushered in the release of a brand-new 4-track EP, that showcases the band putting the brakes on its typical death metal tempos, transitioning into a somewhat slower and doomier style. And now that you’re all caught up on historical facts, let’s check out Exitus!
At a time where so much of the world of metal seems to have been reduced to a pissing contest to see who can play the fastest and most technically-proficient strings of notes, or be the most “extreme,” oftentimes with the consequence of sounding artificial or just, well, not good.
In contrast, these songs have a sort of beauty in their simplicity; as much as it could be said about death metal music, there’s almost a feeling of elegance here. The majority of the material consists of either single-note riffs or chugged power-chord riffs, mostly straight eighth-notes, and all very downbeat-oriented — everything very emphatically comes back to the “one” constantly and consistently.
Feeling rather doomy and gloomy overall, the EP is almost entirely set at a funerary march tempo — very much like if you slowed standard black metal to 1/2- or even 1/4-speed. Throughout the final minute of “Fucking Dead” has even more of a blackened feel with its somewhat tremolo-ey guitar lead; and the funereal tone really gets emphasised right around 5:00 of “206 Motives” where everything drops out and the bass takes over, leading a creeping forward-march throughout the remainder of that track.
Somewhat of an outlier is closing track “Butcherado” which, with kind of a punky/thrashy two-step feel, is just a little quicker than the other three songs, but even here (compared with what one typically expects with most extreme metal) the arrangement is clean and straightforward, a neat punctuation at the end of an uncluttered and unostentatious sentence.
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