ALBUM REVIEW: Necronautical – Apotheosis
Photo Credit: Ester Segarra
Black metal has divided into a plethora of new sub-genres over the years, with the most popular becoming symphonic, blackgaze, and atmospheric. A current upcoming band in the latter category is the UK outfit Necronautical, who are still in their infancy as a band in terms of duration. Their 2014 debut Black Sea Misanthropy shot them to the heights of the black metal underworld practically overnight, with their success meeting an upward trajectory since. After a successful live debut supporting Dark Funeral, the band further raised through the ranks, and became more and more popular. Now, they are on the cusp of releasing their third record, Apotheosis.
The album kicks off promisingly with All Is Vanity. Blast beats and symphonic elements aplenty, and an abundance of atmosphere, set the tone as the “melancholic journey through an empty and brutal existence” it aims to be. Does it succeed in doing this? Short answer – yes. This is a mood which permeates throughout Apotheosis, with nods to classic black metal bands left right and centre without compromising their originality, especially in the epic Nihil Sub Sole Novum.
As mentioned, there is certainly a love for the classic elements of black metal in Necronautical’s musical repertoire, blended with gorgeous, almost graceful, modernised symphonic elements which are simultaneously grandiose and ethereal. This provides the melancholic balance between nihilism and hope which permeates throughout the record, and it’s done well. Lure of the Abyss sounds very Behemoth initially, before gradually expanding into a more complex, atmospheric track ladened with groove and synthesisers. Drummer Slugh forms a solid, ferocious backbone to each track, with vocal duo Naut and Anchorite delivering cold, damning vocals throughout.
However, throughout the course of Apotheosis, there’s a niggling sense that some of the tracks could be a couple of minutes shorter for the overall benefit of the record. While each song has its appeal and rather impressive impact, they tend to drag on a little longer than necessary – a minor critique nonetheless on a record with plenty to offer. The only track which doesn’t offer much in terms of originality or impact is Totentanz, which, despite the other tracks doing so, does not burn to memory after listening.
The record’s title track, however, takes the trophy for one of the best ‘classic’ black metal tracks of the year thus far. Its malevolent opening with dark guitar plucks provide the backbone for a very Immortal-esque epic. It has the icy, cold aura of something plucked from the unknown depths of At The Heart Of Winter, but brought to present day with a more groove-oriented approach, and Winterfylleth-meets-Opeth midsection. What’s crystal clear with Necronautical is that their love for the classics has reached a point of modernisation whereby they hold the breakthrough elements of the genre’s origins high, but have become comfortable with their own sound and development to create an excellent blend of the two eras. What more could you want from a black metal record, realistically?
Drenched in atmosphere and savage classic black metal, Necronautical triumphantly return to the fray with Apotheosis. While it could have been shorter in places, it is an excellent showcase of the blend between classic and modern black metal. As they continue to refine and improve their sound, they are making themselves to be one of the rising stars in modern black metal today.
Standout Tracks: Here Begins The Fall, The Downward Spiral, Lure Of The Abyss
For Fans Of: Winterfylleth, Immortal, Behemoth
Written by: Jordan McEvoy