Often overlooked as a breeding ground of metal, it would be fair to say that while Greece doesn’t have quite the same pedigree as Sweden, Germany or the States, the country certainly hasn’t shirked its duty to supply the world with some fantastic metal offerings. With SEPTICFLESH, SUICIDAL ANGELS and, of course, black metal legends ROTTING CHRIST all hailing from the home of democracy, Greece has definitely bestowed some blasphemous, distorted gifts upon us – and soon to join the ranks of Greece’s best are Athens-based NECROVOROUS, with their new record Plains of Decay.
It’s been six years since NECROVOROUS unleashed their debut, Funeral for the Sane, upon the world. Six years is a long break between albums, and although their debut was met with praise, it is easy to slip into irrelevance during such a long period of inactivity. Clearly not willing to be forgotten, NECROVOROUS have taken the time away to hone their craft, and are on the cusp of delivering a truly brilliant album.
Plains of Decay wastes absolutely no time with intro tracks or atmospheric lead-in to the action. Opening with one of the record’s highlights, NECROVOROUS lay the listener to waste with a delicious slab of old-school worship; The Sun Has Risen In A Land I No Longer See. Switching between crushing, OBITUARY-esque grooves and up-tempo savagery more akin to DEATH or POSSESSED with ease, NECROVOROUS offer no mercy. This trend of infectious grooves mixed with almost thrashy speed and old-school ferocity continues through Cherish the Sepulture, Eternal Soulmates and the title track.
Psychedelic Tribe of Doom is an absolute monster, easily standing as one of Plains of Decay’s strongest songs – one of the strongest songs NECROVOROUS have ever released, in fact. Opening with an instantly infectious riff that leads into some truly evil lead work, Psychedelic Tribe of Doom ups the tempo and becomes sonically savaging. Though Plains of Decay is certainly not short on speed, the majority of Plains of Decay focuses on fully developed songs and strong songwriting, leaving the grinding Red Moon Rabies feeling like an out-of-place, unnecessary addition to the album.
Second to last track, Lost In a Burning Charnel Ground, had a lot of potential, bringing a slower, doom-laden riff to start with before diving into a stomping, infectious groove. However, the lack of vocals leaves the song feeling incomplete – it doesn’t have enough shred or variation to really work as an instrumental. Plains of Decay‘s closing song, however, more than makes up for that disappointment. Offering up a renewed savagery, The Noose Tightens brings Plains of Decay to a bloody, brutal finish.
There is nothing overly innovative or original about Plains of Decay, but at no point do NECROVOROUS try to convince you otherwise. Criticising the record for a lack of originality would be missing the point entirely – this is pure old-school worship at its finest. Well written and well executed, Plains of Decay is a solid substitute for those needing a break from Altars of Madness, Scream Bloody Gore or Cause of Death, but still craving that genre-defining sound.
Plains of Decay is out now via Dark Descent Records.
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