Title: Eyes Of Blue Light
Release Date: 23 February 2018
Sweden has a lot to answer for, hey? It has always astounded me how a country with a population of just on 10 million can churn out so many metal bands! The ratio is massive! In fact it’s actually 27.2% per 100,000..second to Finland (53.3%). So what the hell has this got to do with this new Necropanther album? One word will suffice – INFLUENCE!
Necropanther are from Denver, Colorado USA, but if you didn’t know the details - upon hearing their sophomore album ‘Eyes of Blue Light’ - you would be forgiven for thinking that they were just another killer Gothenburg act. Scandinavian Melo-death isn’t the only thing that permeates this album, but by the gods of thunder the Swedish sound definitely holds up as a massive blueprint.
Inspired again by 80’s cinema, Thematically ‘Eyes of Blue Light’ is a rather adventurous affair. Here’s a band retelling Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi classic ‘Dune’ in 12 gleaming, highly strung, tightly delivered tracks. You’d think such an undertaking would take a couple of hours, maybe spanning a prog-rock double album release. No sir!…as if to cut straight to the chase, Necropanther knock it all over in 35 minutes. As stated, the old school Swedish melo-death sound runs deep throughout this album. Yet it is far from a one trick pony. The band clearly love At The Gates/In Flames and even underground glories such as Sacrilege and Eucharist. But bringing it state side, you’ve got a plethora of tightly stacked and jagged Bay Area thrash riffage interplaying with sweet melodic leads that recall ‘Skeletonwitch’ and a nod to some harsher blackened elements – most notably guitarist/vocalist Paul Anop’s caustic spit laden lyrically delivery! Add touches of Power Metal epic-ness (Hunter-Seeker) and straight up Trad-Metal (Shai-Hulud) accoutrements and this, all of a sudden, isn’t what you think it might be… If you are at all interested in the combination, then it will only take you the opening salvo riff of ‘Imperium Overture’ to convince you that this is worth your time. The great thing about Necropanther’s influential eye is that they’ve sought the best of best when it comes to capturing the Scandinavian Melo-Death sound. Why fuck around and be half -assed with anything of this nature, hey? So, even though ‘Eyes Of Blue Light’ was captured at Green Door Recordings in Denver by Felipe Patino (Rise Against, NOFX) it WAS mixed and mastered in Gothenburg, Sweden by Melodic Death Metal mastermind Fredrik Nordström (Dimmu Borgir, At The Gates, Arch Enemy, In Flames etc.). Such a move has allowed the bands musical prowess to shine through, especially their melodic lead features and scathing riff work. If I can suggest one element that didn’t quite get the treatment it deserved, it’s possibly in the drum mix where a lack of punch is evident in what is a rather highly compressed sound. A little more space in the instrumentation next time maybe? Fans of the style will find a treasure trove of delight in this half hour (and a bit) romp through some of the more appealing Swedish Melo-death influenced Metal you’ve heard this year. Professional, mature and sophisticated, Eyes of Blue Light does the job…yeah, it may not be entirely ‘creative’ as per the definition, but wow, the bands ability to mesh and mould their influences into taut sinewy compositions is extremely admirable. Necropanther - the best Swedish sounding American Metal band around – not taking anything away from their own unique take on the style, but from me that is high praise! Revisit often for maximum effect. Great fkn work! 8/10 KMaN
8/10 To Greatness and Glory!