Do you worship at the altar of old-school Swedish Death Fucking Metal? Do you love that Sunlight Studios guitar sound so much that you’ve burned holes in your old Entombed and Dismember CDs? Necrocurse sure hopes that you do. Why? Because that’s what they’re all about: old-school Swedish Death Fucking Metal, nothing more and nothing less. With three former members of Masticator (two of whom were also in Runemagick, the drummer was also in Sacramentum and Swordmaster) and Hellbutcher from Nifelheim in the band, the members of Necrocurse aren’t a bunch of kids who’ve only heard of the old Stockholm scene. These guys have been around for a while. In fact, this band has existed since 2004, though they’ve only been seriously putting out material since 2011. With that much lineage, you would expect Grip of the Dead to fucking slay. It definitely kicks ass, which is always a good thing. What it doesn’t do is break any new ground. Grip of the Dead treads well trodden paths from the beginning to the end. If you own most of the “classic” Death Metal albums from the old Stockholm scene, you’re not going to be surprised by anything on this LP. What I thought was lacking, though, was the strong sense of melody that you found in early Entombed and Dismember. Even though those bands knew how to be punishingly brutal, there was always an underlying melodic element that made their music memorable and listenable. Necrocurse is good at laying the smack down, but without that melodic element they sound a bit generic. The no-frills approach works to a degree. The amount of ass-kicking is very high. After this album is over, though, you’d be hard pressed to remember any of the songs individually. It’s like being at a beer festival and sampling loads of different beers, getting absolutely smashed in the process. You wake up the next morning knowing that you had a good time, but if someone asked you which beer was your favorite, you’d never be able to tell that person with absolute certainty which one you liked the most. If these guys can work some of that melodic element into their music, their next album will be one to look out for. If they stay with the “no frills” approach, they’ll disappear into the sea of clones and be forgotten.
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