With new album Servants due in the coming months, Sweden’s NEKROKRAFT have rolled back the years to release a compilation of their first two demos to whet the appetites of fans and introduce the band to a legion of new followers. Ten tracks from the bands formative days which show an impressive maturity and potential for band that formed the same year that these tracks were recorded.
The body of the material is a mixture of traditional thrash with black metal which combines the more technical aspects of the former with the approach and aesthetics of the latter. The four piece deliver a full sounding noise which differentiates it from both the minimalist one and two man acts and also from the full blown excess of something like early CRADLE OF FILTH. The sound on the second half of this record from the second demo is slightly cleaner production, but it doesn’t take anything away from the primitive effects of the first few tracks. Vocalist Angst does share some traits with Dani, such as an impressive range that he uses to full effect, but has his own style and tries a few different things across the ten tracks. There is a variety of things going on and its not all 100 mph, as tracks like The Void have some slower sections.
In the early days of any band, as they are creating their own sound and material, there are often covers, and they have included theirs on this release. In each of their demos they featured a cover of a legendary band. SLAYER’s Angel Of Death and BATHORY’s Satan, My Master are given the grim treatment here and both are really well performed. Perhaps obvious tracks to cover and they could have easily made a meal of such iconic tracks, but they make them their own, and that’s a mark of just how good this band seem to be. There are also two previously unreleased tracks in They Swim, They Must Hang and Wrath Of The Heavens, which are more recent and show that NEKROKFRAFT have grown since then and give a glimpse into what is to come later this year.
A really strong release considering this is the very early days of NEKROKRAFT. The production goes well with the raw and primitive sound that’s and definitely bodes well for their upcoming album. It doesn’t feel like a cobbled together release, but could easily be a full fledged album on its own. The first half is more black metal, the second half more thrash oriented, and that gives it a variety that many similar albums don’t really have. They are not doing anything particularly ground breaking, but they have done their own thing and it works, it works really well. It ticks all the boxes you would want from a blackened thrash album and more. When the album drops later this year, on this form, you should expect something pretty special.
Witches Funeral is out now via The Sign Records.
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