Album Review: Necrowretch – Swords of Dajjal

Album Review: Necrowretch - Swords of Dajjal
Reviewed by Richard Oliver

The pandemic and the lockdown hit so many bands hard including French blackened death metallers Necrowretch who released their fourth album “The Ones From Hell” in February 2020. The band were ready to embark on a tour with Kampfar and Taake when the world was shut down and touring was indefinitely stopped. Such is the persevering nature of metal, the band realised that they should utilise the time to write new songs and spend the time really working on and fine tuning the material. After three years, the result is the band’s fifth album “Swords Of Dajjal”.

Necrowretch started out as a death metal band lumped in with the old school death metal revival movement though from their debut album “Putrid Death Sorcery” onwards the band have always had a black metal edge to their full throttle death metal assault. This black metal influence has steadily upped its presence through subsequent albums though with “Swords Of Dajjal” it is an overwhelming part of their sound with this being the most black metal sounding album that the band have done to date. The extra care and attention taken to the songwriting this time round means that this is some of the most well rounded and mature sounding material released by Necrowretch with variations of pace, a great use of melody and a wonderfully evil and malevolent atmosphere throughout the album.

Album Review: Necrowretch - Swords of Dajjal

This is still the same Necrowretch we know and love and the violence and intensity displayed on previous albums is still very much there and the death metal elements, although scaled down, are still very much in place. The album is themed around Dajjal who is the Muslim equivalent of the Antichrist - a false prophet who will bring doom to the world with an army of demons coming from the east. It means that the album has some wonderful middle eastern inspired melodies throughout which given a black metal twist sound beautifully malevolent. Songs such as ‘Numidian Knowledge’ and ‘Ksar Al-Kufar’ positively drip with evil whilst others such as ‘Total Obliteration’ and ‘Vae Victis’ threaten to take your head off with the levels of violence and aggression on display.

“Swords Of Dajjal’ is the sound of a band renewed and invigorated and ready to strike back with furious vengeance after the setbacks of the pandemic. The inclusion of fresh blood in the band is a factor in the passion and vigour heard on the album with bassist R. Cadaver now a full-time member of the band (having been a live session bassist for a while) and new drummer N. Destroyer positively destroys on his kit alongside career best performances from lead guitarist W. Cadaver and frontman/rhythm guitarist Vlad. Although their 2017 album “Satanic Slavery” will always be seen as the band's finest hour by many, “Swords Of Dajjal” is right up there with it as some of the finest material from the band. It may even surpass it as this album is really absolutely superb. The hard work and fine crafting that the band has put into this album shines through and will easily be one of the top extreme metal albums of the year.

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