I love being on press lists! When the presser email came in yesterday, I did a little jig to myself and immediately downloaded the review copy of “DAWNSLAYER.” I listened to the whole thing through twice, bothered Terry about it, bothered other people I know about it, and decided that “yeah, so you don’t normally review singles but come on it’s basically an EP there are five total songs and also Necroma,” so here we are. On to the review!
If you recall the DEATHLESS review, I made a point of acknowledging Necroma’s journey along the idol development pathway; that while I enjoyed every lineup that had existed up until now, something about this current quintet feels very right, very cohesive.
It’s only been a few months since DEATHLESS, and here’s Necroma again taking what I dare say is another step forward.
“DAWNSLAYER” comes in two versions, both with the title track and “STARRY WISDOM” and “R’LYEH” (such titles), with “celephaïs” and “ABHOTH” each respectively rounding out the difference between the “DAWN” and “SLAYER” versions; there’ll be an all-encompassing digital edition available via Bandcamp, too, so I’m just going to pretend that it’s all one thing for the purposes of the review, but you’ll want to get the physical copies if you can, of course for collectible reasons but also for the sick photography by Leo Berne inside the jacket.
Not just because of track length, but because of how the sounds all fell into place, I found “DAWNSLAYER” most akin not to DEATHLESS, but to from chaos born, which I’m on record as thinking is basically the bee’s knees.
The title track we know, and I can say that a clean studio recording of this epic Necroma take on power metal is going to get a lot of Of The Year consideration when the time comes. “R’LYEH” takes a lot of notes from the black metal side of NECRONOMIDOL, along with power synths and creepy-ass lyrics befitting The Call of Cthulhu; it isn’t even fair to call “STARRY WISDOM” dark wave — if you can dig the Luciferian themes all playing around this “dawnslayer” business, must be the most Satanic dance song ever put together.
Those are great pieces, and the three alone would be as well-rounded and Necroma-fan-happy-making single as you could ask for, but I’m honestly most smitten with the two variant tracks. “celephaïs” is a seriously creepy piece of music, befitting its dreamy, fantastic subject matter, tip-toeing along the precipice of madness, while the gnarly NWOBH drive of apocalyptic plague in “ABHOTH” grabbed me from the get-go. Fittingly, it comes from the same writer as “ITHAQUA” and “LAMINA MALEDICTUM,” to paint a better picture for your brain.
All around, the members sound great (some particularly nice vocal work on “ABHOTH” and “R’LYEH,” I thought, but I might be biased toward that side of the coin), and the production is right on point. I haven’t had a chance to listen in higher fidelity yet, or even on something more sophisticated than laptop speakers, but I thought the mix was well done overall, too.
What I might appreciate the most out of this record, though, is what it realizes. I remember Ricky Wilson, the group’s manager/producer/dad, once reflecting that Necroma’s concept involves metal, but it’s not metal per se — it’s darkness. That thread runs through the group’s whole catalog, but it really shines here … shines like the Morning Star himself, one might say. Hope that the English lyrics come along with the digital download, gang, so you can really appreciate that.
I struggled for a minute on giving this one a score. “Are any of these five tracks going to be something that you later go ‘oh right, that one Necroma song’?” was one thing I asked myself, along with “Is it as good as or better than DEATHLESS?” and “Is it fair to compare a very long single to an actual album?” Take this for what you will, but understand that what I’m saying is that “DAWNSLAYER” is friggin’ gold.
Added to the Ultimate Homicidol Playlist:
Video coming soon!