Some things in life are meant to be fun. Sex is one example that immediately comes to mind. Sports are also fun. Some people like to enjoy a brisk walk in the park while others might enjoy whatever sexy witchcraft is occurring on the cover of the album cover for Jewel of the Vile. Necromancing the Stone was created solely to be included on your list of fun things. And why not? You could even listen to it while doing all those aforementioned FUN activities. While fun things are not always good things, like smashing lightbulbs on your neighbor’s steps, or that time you were terrible at sex but had fun anyways, Necromancing the Stone is both: good and fun.
“From Graves to Infamy” is a perfect example of what Necromancing the Stone does well. Full bore, straightforward heavy metal full of palm-muted riffs, bouncy drumbeats and multi-tracked vocals that follow logical patterns. Hell, you could pop your cherry and sing along on the first listen. There’s even a breakdown for you to break out the old floorpunch and a guitar solo for you to air-play along to. Similarly, “Bleed for the Night” is moderately paced, replete with breakdowns, guitar squeals and harsh vocals in a baritone range. The result is another song that is just an absolute blast to sing along to.The point is, much like sex, if you’re not having fun then you’re just not doing it right. Necromancing the Stone are certainly having fun.
I feel as if I need to make a preemptive strike against the haters. Of course, we have no one other than Necromancing the Stone to blame for that since, well, they chose their name. But, as I’ve been attempting to drill into your holes, Jewel of the Vile is good. In fact, it’s very good. The lyrical themes traverse the fantasy and power realms bringing vile temptresses, warring hordes and necromancer’s wives to life. They tear out of the gate with “Crusher.” A galloping, straight-forward, lead-line-saturated tune featuring the story of The Crusher. While not necessarily linked to an overarching story, the tunes are placed in an order to allow the listener to make thematic connections in their head. Almost creating a realm.
Vocalist John Williams croons his way through his homespun tales. Using his upper register to flawlessly bring on the alarm of urgency and his lower register to rally the troops, his performance is rather flawless. Guitarists James Malone (Arsis, Vermithrax) and Justin Wood are joined by session support from Taylor Nordberg (Ribspreader, Scab, Infernaeon) who rips a solo on “Ritualistic Demise” and Jeff Loomis (Nevermore) who shreds all false imposters on “The Old One.” The combination of all four guitarists provides enough diversity, solid layering, harmonizing and just solid soloing for fans of any genre that Necromancing the Stone may be lumped in with. Bart Williams (ex-Black Dahlia Murder) and Jermaine King (Dritt Skit, Infernaeon, Ninety Minute Reflex, Ribspreader, The Absence) hold down the fort on the rhythm section leaving plenty of room for the guitars and vocals to do their job as the crew gallops into battle.
Necromancing the Stone don’t skip the foreplay. They don’t go “stampeding towards the clitoris” like a teenager getting his first taste. Rather, they wet you up with great intros, catchy storylines and purely traditional heavy metal. But, when the foreplay is over, they lube up and sex you with their catchy melodies and thick riffs. Their music is a thesis on how to use talent, effort and composition to create music that simply rocks. It’s throwback metal done right and it’s a big step forward for the Americans in this category. Jewel of the Vile is a sweet, luscious combination of good, fun, clean metal. Metal that will bring you to the point of climax while it cuddles you with breakdowns.