Originally written by Doug Moore.
Most metal bands build themselves out of a shared stockpile of visual, lingual, and musical tropes. Accordingly, you can usually tell a lot about a metal band by its name. For me, the name Necroblaspheme summons up the following associations:
-death and/or black metal
-pentagrams and baphomets on everything
-press releases that involve the word “purists”
-black-and-white promo photos
-constant vigilance against hard-to-find interlopers (posers, hipsters)
France’s Necroblaspheme is indeed a death metal band. But there the associations fail. The cover of XXVI: The Deeper, The Better shows a monster eating a guy, which fits the band name. Everything else about it is thoroughly un-necro. The monster is a cloud; the setting is modern; the colors are eye-poppingly bright; the rendering is clean.
So it goes for Necroblaspheme’s music. They sound contemporary, but don’t register as “modern” and certainly aren’t “tech-death.” A colossal guitar tone lies at the core of this sound—it’s almost too big to fit through speakers without overloading them. And it’s metallic in an unusually literal way; it clangs instead of rumbles.
Necroblaspheme uses this unconventional tone unconventionally. In contrast to 2009’s excellent Destination: Nulle Part, this 28-minute EP emphasizes hard-strummed progressions that might register as “rock” if it weren’t for those corrugated-steel guitars. Brutality remains in evidence, of course—the nameless vocalist retains his roar, and the sparing blastbeats absolutely rip. But the compositional focus rests on emotive, melodic (but not “melodeath”) guitar work. “The Sound of Silence” and “The Great Dead Moose”, XXVI’s two highlights, could be tear-jerkers in a less violent band’s hands.
Which makes for one more unconventional feature for Necroblaspheme: They’re great songwriters. The death metal canon includes plenty of great songs, but exponentially more shitty ones. XXVI—which is self-released and available for purchase or free download—contains six distinctive tunes that each improve with repeated listens. That’s six more than most death metal bands can manage. Enigmatic and underrated, Necroblaspheme deserves your support.