Necronomicon – Unus (Season of Mist)Monday, 18th November 2019
Necronomicon have been out doing their blackened death metal shtick for over 30 years now – an impressive feat for an act that doesn’t exactly fly on top of every extreme metal fan’s radar. Their releases over the past decade have been more of the symphonic metal type in their execution, and Unus continues that tradition, for better or worse.
Rapidly conjuring up thoughts of bands like Behemoth or Dimmu Borgir (or even Septicflesh), the one sticking point of Unus is how similar it seems to fall in line with other bands in this variety. Certainly, from a compositional stand point, everything here is rock solid: frenetic drumming, classic death metal riffing, and cinematic symphonic elements that make it feel larger than life. It’s all good, from an objective standpoint – it contains the necessary ingredients and checks all the boxes. But as it was already alluded to, there’s not really anything that tends to stick out as being any different from a plethora of sound-alikes combining the dramatic orchestrations and black/death madness. A track like “Singularis Dominus” thrives on energy and aggression, with the symphonic elements bringing it into more bombastic levels, but nothing catches the ear that stands out. It’s simply more of the same sort of thing. Which means that by the time that the album has reached its conclusion, there’s not much that will really demands a return visit.
Sadly, the first word that comes to mind with Unus is ‘safe.’ There’s no boundaries pushed, there’s no waters tested. Not every release needs to do that sort of thing, for sure, and there’s nothing that the band does to place them on the wrong step. That said, if you have enjoyed Necronomicon’s take on symphonic black/death, dive right in – but for most others, it’s one that’s probably safe to skip in this crowded fall marketplace.