Review 2208 : Necrophagia – Moribundis Grim – English

Necrophagia presents us with its swan song.

Pioneers of Death Metal in the USA, the band first lived from 1983 to 1987, then took a break for a decade before returning to the forefront in 1998, fueling its reputation. But in 2018, the momentum is brought to a screeching halt after seven albums by the death of Killjoy Desade, the band’s creator and vocalist.

Shawn Slusarek (drums), Jake Arnette (bass, Black Crown) and Serge Streltsov (guitar), the three remaining members then called on Titta Tani (drums, Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, ex-DGM), Mirai Kawashima (keyboards, SIGH), Dee Commisso (keyboards) and John McEntee (vocals, Incantation, Beast of Revelation, ex-Mortician) to fill in the tracks left by the late Killjoy to complete Moribundis Grim, their eighth album.

The album opens with The House by the Cemetery, whose vocal sample immediately recreates the band’s horrific ambience, before riffs and keyboards mingle to create a mournful sound. Once the introduction is over, it’s on Moribundis Grim, the band’s eponymous track, that the groovy riffs, unhealthy vocals and terrifying effects contribute to the unhealthy Death/Doom atmosphere, before making way for Bleeding Torment, which takes over with a much foggier mix. The sound is actually that of the track’s demo recorded in 2017, but we still manage to appreciate the power of the massive dark rhythm that rages while the vocalist roars, eventually letting a few tortured harmonics fuel the chaos before Mental Decay hypnotizes us. Although the mix is similar to the previous track, the bass is far more impactful, allowing the acceleration to ignite the fire and increase the violence tenfold, but the march continues until Halloween 3, a Samhain cover that initially allows us to breathe before the greasy rhythm resurfaces, still anchored in these gloomy tones with strange but captivating guitars. The album continues with The Wicked, a live capture from 2017 of one of the band’s last releases, which manages, despite the over-saturated sound (partly due to the drums), to convey the tumult that must have reigned during the band’s performances. We continue with Scarecrows, where a few sampled words open the door to this new portion of heavy instrumental anguish dominated by keyboards, then screams of terror bring it to an end, leaving Sundown to close the album with some anxiety-inducing sounds.

With this final album, Necrophagia bids a final farewell to its creator. Moribundis Grim delivers the last bits of horrific creativity from a man who had his own vision of Death Metal. Thank you, and goodbye Mr Killjoy.


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