By Nathanas Trismegistus
Necrobode – Sob o Feitiço do Necrobode (translates to “Under the Spell of the Goat Corpse”); released February 21, 2020 by Iron Bonehead Productions. Portugal, it seems, is trying to make a name for itself by distinguishing itself from the decidedly more popular Spanish black/death or bestial black metal scene. To forge its own path, so to speak. As is the case with this newcomer. Unfortunately, I do not believe they succeeded in their endeavor.
This is the band’s debut, although, I had listened to – and actually own a copy of – their demo, Metal Negro da Morte, which had more of that raw, aggressive energy and tone one would expect from such a band. It was, incidentally, also about the same length as this release. Sob o Feitiço do Necrobode is definitely more polished, strictly in terms of production, than their demo, which, in this case, unfortunately, does them no favors in this regard as the simplicity of their music and songwriting is laid bare for all to witness. It’s not that I expect complexity or intricacy from a bestial black metal band, but, in a genre as rampantly scaturient (and interminably expanding it seems) as this, you really need something to differentiate from the extensive list of near-identical bands. Trajeto de Cabra’s (despite the Portuguese name, the band is actually Canadian) forgettable release suffered the same fate last year, I think. Competition is fierce and you either leave an impression or join the countless forgotten bands in immemorial obsolescence.
As I briefly mentioned, the songwriting is extremely basic. Common time (4/4) blast beats incessantly hammering away with bland, down-tuned, single-note, chromatic meanderings played over top. The bass is, of course, present and audible, adequately punching its way through the mix. The riffs do deign to, occasionally, enrapture the listener (as the title suggests), but not enough to justify the album as a whole. You will be tempted to nod along with head-bangers like tracks 1, 2, 6, 7, and 9 (which is admirable in a pathetic sort of way). Track 10 does end the album nicely with an ominous, monkish chant.
Overall, though I consider it a bit harsh for this album, Sob o Feitiço do Necrobode was just sort of mediocre. It was not terrible. It did not offend me. It did not anger me. I can’t even say that I’m ambivalent towards it. I feel nothing. It provoked little to no response from me. It’s a short release, so you won’t be wasting too much of your time by listening to it. It was certainly a valiant effort, but, if you’re looking to satisfy that bestial filth hunger, I would actually recommend you skip this one and go track down a copy of their demo. It’s more worthy of your time and money. Obviously, not essential.