Traveler, welcome. I can see by the tokens you carry that it has been a long journey and a hard one to find your way to [my ancient realm]*. A fey and hardy sort you must be. Draw near, and huddle in close by the fire. I shall weave for you a tale of madness and woe that I have ached to spill lo these many desolate years.
Verily, settest for thyself the scene: it’s a Tuesday evening with a thoughtful chill in the air. The lady of the realm proposes a boisterous night of [scouring the market town for treasures vast and mysterious]**. “But nay!” said I, “I haveth here the latest missive from the fjord-thumping miscreants called Nekromantheon. Meaneth it nothing to ye that it’s their first album in half a score minus one years?? Careth ye not, wench, that 2012’s Rise, Vulcan Spectre was one of the most recklessly destructive yet ruthlessly efficient black/thrash albums ever put to yon magnetic tape?”
(Spoiler alert: she didst careth not.)
Finding a less than sympathetic ear at the homestead, I donned my finest raiment and piloted my bones for a place of refuge and kindness. The unrepentantly coarse tavernkeep looked askance at my request for [half a wine barrelful of mead]***, but otherwise left me to my thoughts. “Visions of Trismegistos,” I muttered under my breath, “starts off at full-tilt and races through its 8 songs in 32 minutes of pure thrashing adrenaline madness.” Another patron hid his visage from my raw truth. “But zounds, how carefully paced and meticulously structured!” I marveled.
The next day mine head had cleared but my mind remained alight with the glorious possibility of these gleefully regressive new sounds. On my walk to the local artisans guild I pondered how riff after riff after riff ricochets off of every surface of Visions of Trismegistos, such that one gets the impression of each song as a boulder racing down a canyon wall, kicking up dust and shedding great chunks that careen wildly into the void. At the steaming forge, I [asked my apprentice what fell toxin must have seeped into the wells of Norway to produce such an hellacious racket as Nekromantheon and their countryfolk in Aura Noir, Condor, Toxik Death, Mion’s Hill, Black Viper, Black Magic, Obliteration, and onwards unto the sky-distant aurorae]*****.
The guildmaster must have heard my dulcet tones and recognized the conviction of my speech, for ‘pon my stars I was invited to expound my thesis in front of the entire Humanity Resources association. I think they had started to ask me some questions but my enthusiasm could not remain sheathed! “Hark!” I panted (for they had become so exercised with delight that they ran pell mell in my wake playacting at some significant consternation!), “didst thou ask about ‘Faustian Rites’? Verily, does it not open with a sternly martial flurry which by the 2-minute mark turns itself into a high-wire, dual-guitar unison act before folding back onto that opening cadence? Is it not, to put it scientifically, utterly fucking awesome?”
Friend, drowned out as their responses were by the [tolling of the vespers bell at the neighboring priory]******, I cannot report on their scientifickal judgment. I must have blacked out from a touch of the bad humors, for I awoke sometime later to find myself [deep in converse with a pair of wizened scholars at the university]*******, telling them that if they prefer their thrash fierce and feral – Whiplash’s Power and Pain, Dark Angel’s Darkness Descends, Kreator’s Endless Pain, early Slayer, early Bathory, the first two Voivod records, Rigor Mortis’s self-titled, Exodus’s Bonded by Blood, Holy Terror’s Terror and Submission, Nifelheim, Sadus’s Chemical Exposure, etc. – then Visions of Trismegistos is exactly the kind of tonic they’ve been seeking during these past nine years of relative quiet from the Nekromantheon camp.
The scholars raised a cogent point, though: should Visions of Trismegistos be judged lacking for taking the full-throttle template of Rise, Vulcan Spectre and doing essentially… nothing to update or refresh it? The answer, as I tried to explain patiently to my increasingly unreliable interlocutors, is unequivocally NO. Nekromantheon’s thrash has been elevated to such a level of pitch-perfect destruction, and honed to such a scalpel-thin blade of efficiency, that to quibble about a lack of progress or reinvention is rather like pestering Mt. Everest about why it still hasn’t finished its GED – i.e., it misses the goddamned point. Every last element of these songs flows together so perfectly, so seamlessly, so intuitively that my inner self kept imagining the song “Everything In Its Right Place” by the band Radiohead, except in this fever vision, the radio looks like the tank from Voivod’s Rrröööaaarrr, and the head looks like the blood-dripping skull from Sodom’s Obsessed by Cruelty, and the only song on the radio sounds like a junkyard dog stuffing the Noise Records catalog in a blender while gnawing a power line as if to suck out the marrow from a whale bone. The section of “Neptune Descent” that kicks in at the 2-minute mark sounds like such a glorious racket falling down the stairs that it’s impossible to dislike it, especially after it pulls back into a Hell Awaits-type slower section with the spotlight on a slithering bass lead. About the only time this entire thing really takes its foot off the gas pedal is for the ominous intro to “Scorched Death,” which is a perfect way to reset the scene for side B. Once it scoots into full blast, though, it pairs one of the punkiest riffs with some insanely fun low tom rolls.
Are you not convinced, bold traveler? Considereth thou thy thirst not yet slaked? Observeth thou how the album’s closing song “Zealot Reign” bleeds out in a noisy squall that evokes the Bosch-ian hellscape of the tremendous cover art. Mine eyesight falters, friend wanderer. I see [the end draw near, and with full heart and steadfast hand I espy the horses and their four riders. Taketh thou this parting gift, and to the boon of thy bloodline tell the world I died not for land or gods or country or kinsfolk or ducats but for love of all that is right and true in heavy metal. Adieu, amen, exeunt all]********.
*[this leaky dumpster behind an abandoned 7-Eleven]
**[comparing a few dozen shades of grey paint samples and shopping for mismatched lamp shades on clearance]
***[a Coke Zero and coconut rum spritzer]
****[vomited in my own lap, broke my nose on the bar trying to catch it, accidentally punched a passing waiter in the side of the head as I fell, and subsequently earned a lifetime ban from the Applebees near the airport]
*****[leaned over the cubicle wall and said “No, I will not keep it down, Chad, and FUCK your webinar”]
******[police sirens and chatter of a local news crew momentarily distracted from a story about a Mynah bird who can solve a Rubik’s cube while glazing a ham]
*******[yelling at a pair of severely disinterested squirrels in the park]
********[you Wendy. Did Chad call you? Yes, I’ll come pick up my things. Can you forward my mail to the 7-Eleven by the bus depot?]