This pack of Norwegian heathens hit my radar in a big way with their recent split with Audiopain. The frenetic, fists flyin’ “Annihilation Spree” was every bit a match for the mighty (and sadly underrated) Audiopain. That single serving left me looking for a full platter of Nekromantheon, and Divinity of Death does a good job delivering on the opening salvo of “Annihilation Spree”.
It’s not a secret that the thrash resurgence is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to ideas and quality. Most of the young bands have come and already gone. But outside the throng of new kids is a small circle of retro-minded thrashers that have never been a part of the trend. These are the bands that are typically worth your attention, and Nekromantheon joins their demonic ranks. Pulling heavily from Slayer (most notably the Hell Awaits era) and infusing the thrashing blitzkrieg of the likes of Dark Angel and Kreator, along with a healthy base of European black thrash sensibilities similar to fellow countrymen Audiopain and Aura Noir, Nekromantheon deal out loads of lightning fast riffing but also plenty of melody. You get the ferocity of thrash that employs a straightforward template for attack, but these songs are structured to give the riffs room to breathe and sink their undeniable hooks.
The album starts off a bit flat-footed, as despite its hellacious thundering intro, “Gringo Death” turns out to be a rather bland thrasher. But Divinity of Death picks up from there, and two tracks in hits a highpoint with “Cry Havoc,” the strongest track on the album’s top half. The album’s piles and piles of riffs nearly all hit hard, and the band is downright deadly when they slow to midtempo Hell Awaits-style instrumental pummeling. The record wraps on a high note of beer-soaked blasphemy with the Kill Em All-meets-Welcome to Hell mayhem of “Alcoholy Terror.”
Unfortunately, the thrash audience doesn’t have the best track record for supporting quality and ignoring the toothless and flaccid. If you’re looking for thrash that captures the ethos of the genre, Divinity of Death is more than worth your while. If you’re content with the status quo, then, well, you deserve that new Death Angel album.