Necrophobic have pretty much achieved the epitome of their craft with Bloodhymns. The Swedish metallers have boiled their songs down to very convincing explosions of controlled rage and hostility. This is a band that rips along at the speed of light not because they don’t know what else to do, but because they are legitimately boiling over with speedfreak antisocial tendencies. This Slayer-meets-Obituary (I’m thinking in terms of their cromagnon primal screams) hybrid doesn’t blaze any markedly new trails, but what they do is pleasingly effective.

As far as death metal, influenced by the classical style, goes I prefer this more convincing ultraviolence style. Difficult music for difficult times. The bass is wonderfully bottom-heavy, the guitars have a deeper crunch’n’grate that resounds far better than the usual one-string trebly alternative, the solos often err on the side of greatness (like the detuned affair on “Art Of Rebellion”) and the vocals are all raspy and phlegmy, owing to Jeff Walker and even John Tardy. “Dreams Shall Flesh” is, like classic Entombed, a beautiful, unrestrained riff-fest, cutting like a buzzsaw through flesh and bone. “Cult Of Blood” is propelled along by black metal tempos and uneasily distorted vocals that claw at the inner ear. “Among The Storms” is a Lord of the Rings-tastic instrumental that evokes the sounds of ancient war, spurred on by double bass and the clash of swords and even the occasional death rattle.

The songs are just packed full of unhealthy mood and time changes, like a cloudy twilight. And if the songs do indeed seem often to blend together into one big twitching mass of disease, well, I can think of worse fates. In fact, I’m seeing the aforementioned worse fates smiling right now on the Grammy Awards. More death please!

Hammerheart Records:

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