Let’s cut to the chase: We’re premiering a full stream of the new album by Poland’s Nekkrofukk on the day of its release by Putrid Cult. Like the last album two years ago, the title of this one is packed with evocative words: Mysterious Rituals in the Abyss of Sabbath & Eternal Celebration of the Blakk Goat. In its music, it’s primitive, crushing, pestilential, and foul, a blending of doom and black metal that seems to have bubbled up like poisonous ichor from a by-gone age.
Rarely do the songs accelerate beyond an earthquaking, mid-paced stomp, or provide reprieve from their moods of cruelty, oppression, and plague. Never do the vocals reveal any sense of humanity, so steeped as they are in bestial expulsions of disgust and damnation. When other melodic accents come in, they create an atmosphere of supernatural horror, rather than casting the listener a life-raft. Heads will move when listeners hear the music’s enormous carnal rhythms, and as ugly as the experience is, you may nevertheless find yourself falling into a narcotic trance as the album unfolds — albeit one that’s infiltrated by terrors.
The old ways of diabolical doom have a strong influence on the music, beginning with album opener “The Great Beast Speaks”, which combines the sounds of howling wind, bell-like ringing, and melodious chanting, followed by a haunted organ refrain. Mark this as the beginning of a blood-freezing ceremony.
The ceremony begins in full with “Summoning of Azrael”, and here you’ll be exposed to the kind of heavy, booming, head-moving stomp that provides the momentum for most of the songs, as well as raking chord distortion, frenzied whirring madness, and vehement guttural growls. The riffs jab with vicious cruelty and keyboards sear like a hot brand. Eventually the drums tumble like the shamanistic accompaniment to an ancient ritual, everything underlaid by massive low-end drones.
As its title suggests, the follow-on track “Kkursed Gathering on Sabbath” does indeed sound cursed. The howl of a wolf and low organ tones create an eerie atmosphere, paving the way for a slow, dismal riff that maneuvers like a huge moaning reptile, joined by massive percussive pounding and those nasty, rabid growls. The snare rhythm creates a lurching and rocking momentum within the oppressive, poisonous miasma that shrouds them, and there’s also a feeling of misery in the shivering keyboards that flare above this titanic, heaving musical beast.
The witchy initial riff of “Devil’s Blood Injekktion” calls to mind Sabbathian doom as a prelude to a ponderous lurch that radiates malevolence from every pore. Funeral bells ring out along with creepy voices in the midst of this plague-infested, earthshaking hellscape, and isolated ritual pounding, bestial snarls, and demonic laughter reverberate in the midst of toxic mists of sound. When that sulphurous main riff returns, it’s like a thick stream of opium oozing into your ears.
In “Spiewajac Psalmy Smierci” a brief horror-laden organ sequence is the only prelude to heaving serpent chords, filthy with distortion, anchored by yet another brutal percussive stride, but the drumming occasionally becomes more maddened, like axes viciously raining down upon necks on the chopping block, enveloped by savagely seething riffage. The pace also slows as the music drags the listener into a charnel pit of ghastly pain, festering infection, and mind-numbing hopelessness.
But Nekkrofukk might have saved the best for last.
There’s a toxic pulsating quality to “Vlci Zena”, and the song also includes swaggering, head-hooking riffs and swirling, spiraling leads that give the song a feeling of dangerous ecstasy — and make it the most head-moving and infectious track on the record. And of course the megaton pounding of the drums has a lot to do with that too, though the growled vocals are just as gruesome and ferocious as ever.
As mentioned at the outset, today is the release day for the album via Putrid Cult, whose publicist evocatively asks you to think of “Beherit and Barathrum drowning together in glue or Faustcoven covering Mortuary Drape and Mystifier simultaneously”.