What you’re about to experience is likely to be the most electrifying 18 minutes of your day, unless you lose control of your car, the brakes fail, and you’re surging toward a concrete pylon at Formula One speed.
Those 18 minutes of full-throttle, mind-boggling music are wrapped within the self-titled debut EP by the Chicago quintet Necronomicon Ex Mortis, which will be released tomorrow (March 31st). Their brand of death metal is so fast, so technically head-spinning, and so devilishly inventive that it allows no room for any calm contemplation. All you can do is hang on for dear life and enjoy the flame-throwing madhouse thrills while they last — and then yield to the impulse to throw yourself back in right away.
You might suspect we’re exaggerating, but we’re really not. The four songs on the EP are undeniably sinister and ferocious, but the dominant impression of the music is that it’s exhilarating and exultant, the work of people who decided to put their formidable talents to the test, while having a shitload of fun doing that. When you listen it will make sense to hear that the EP comes recommended for fans of Black Dahlia Murder, Obscura, Arsis, Racer X, and Megadeth.
Because there are only four songs on the EP, we’ll give you both the band’s insights and our own reactions, one by one.
The band describe the opener “Celestial Tomb” as “a Swedish-style rager with an interesting melodic twist”. They add that, “lyrically, it was inspired by the chalice dungeons in Bloodborne“.
After a flurry of jolting grooves and crazed riffing at the outset of this track, the band launch into a turbocharged gallop given extra fuel by rapidly darting fretwork and haughty growls. Eerie, menacing melodies languidly swirl over jolting chords, riotous drum fills, and blasting fusillades, and the song reaches new fever pitches propelled by spectacular guitar solos that threaten to melt strings. It’s the kind of multi-faceted song that injects adrenaline, creates a sinister atmosphere, and soars toward glorious heights.
Next up is “Earth Cancer“, which the band explain is “about angering God so he curses the human race with overpopulation”. They say that musically it’s “more meat-and-potatoes old-school death metal to contrast with the previous song”, but that might be a bit misleading. It keeps the accelerator jammed to the floor, but the jittery and jarring riffage and the spitfire dual-guitar soloing is even more maniacally exuberant.
The drumming continues to be jaw-dropping, and the growled barks and howls even more furiously rabid. As fleet and berserk as the song is, however, it’s packed with a multitude of rapidly changing and surgically precise parts, and perhaps it’s an even more eye-popping example of the band’s instrumental skill and fireworks-ablaze approach to songwriting.
“Nocturnal” is “about murdering teenagers at a summer camp”. What fun! As forecast earlier, the band show no interest in giving listeners any chance to calm down, because “Nocturnal” is another high-speed, pulse-punching romp. The riffing is both thrash-inspired and insectile, as if jet-propelled spiders were scampering around the guitar strings, and of course the song treats listeners to head-spinning guitar soloing, relentlessly off-the-hook drumming, and unchained vocal malignancy, like a big beast gone mad.
As for “The Burning“, the band tell us: “The final track on this EP as well as future releases will always be named after a horror movie. This song is about The Burning, the acclaimed ’80s horror movie. Musically, it is the most complex to play, it involves a key change, it’s the fastest song on the EP, and the most interesting”.
Well, after listening to the first three tracks it’s kind of hard to imagine the band going any faster, but it’s true. How they managed to stay on course with fingers and limbs flying so fast is difficult to conceive, but all the centrifugal spinning of the many moving parts somehow doesn’t rocket off into oblivion. There are some potent grooves in the mix, and a gloriously fluid guitar solo creates a contrast with all the surrounding mayhem, while the second one adds to the music’s dazzling and diabolical madness.
You probably get the idea from what you’ve read above that these dudes have a shared love of horror. In fact, we’ve learned that “an extreme love for the Evil Dead franchise is what ultimately willed this band into existence”. And they say: “The music and lyrics are ’90s death metal riffs and ’80s guitar solos. We want the listener to feel like they’re trapped in an ’80s B horror movie. On VHS, obviously.”
The songs were performed by:
Michael Nystrom Bala (Guitar)
Manuel Barbará (Guitar)
Yusuf Rashid (Bass)
Joey Ferretti (Drums)
Craig Schmul (Vocals)
The record was produced and mixed by Charlie Waymire at Ultimate Studios, and the ghastly old-school cover art is the work of Lucas Korte. You can pre-order it now, and learn more about the band’s activities, via the links below: