Yorkshire, a grim and foreboding land within the British Isles, has become home to some of the world’s greatest yet darkest bands such My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema and has become a breeding ground for all bands dark, grim and somewhat terrifying. Narcotic Death, who hail from the western edges of Yorkshire, are becoming a part of the legacy. Having once boasted Shaun MacGowan (My Dying Bride) amongst their bloodied ranks, the band have remained, surprisingly, under the radar for the six years they’ve been together and now with the release of Dies Irae earlier this year, Narcotic Death are slowly gaining recognition.

Erupting with “The Butcher & The Scribe” as the opening track “Dies Irae” become a hurricane of unbridled, hate-fuelled guitars that ring out in the vein of old school death metal, with some inkling of black metal there as well. The vocals, as performed by frontwoman Alexandra (Alex for short), are grittier and more aggressive in their sound and style, compared to most modern death metal bands. “Spell of Suicide” is definitely a vocal highlight on the album, displaying the bestial howling of Alex’s vocals which ease into an unholy harmony with the snarling guitar passages.

Judging by the lyrics, “The Accuser” tells the story of the biblical figure Satan – Fortunately not in the stereotypical “Hail Satan! He is better than Christ!” manner. The bass on this track add an underlying solemn touch that creates a grand yet misery-tainted sound with the guitars and vocals. “Throne Of Stars” changes the pace of the album, acting as a slow death knell of droning, hypnotic riffs and entrancing drums. “Rain” might sound like a bleak or unoriginal title for a song, but its musical content differ vastly from that assumption. From cumbersome drums heavy enough to break a few bones to a ruthless savage onslaught of guitars and bass, “Rain” is by far the bloodthirsty and heaviest track on the album.

Gorgon” features some pretty graphic lyrics that become more intense through Alex’s vocals, a feeling made more apparent by the vehement guitar passages. The song radiates with a certain of overwhelming feeling of hatred that is reflected through both the music and the lyrics. The title track “Dies Irae” is a ferocious piece of musical craftsmanship, the drums, in particular, are merciless and unmannerly in their march. The album ends with “Cainite”. The lyrics tell the story of Cain, the biblical figure who slew his own brother – A typically grim topic for Narcotic Death to cover but they manage to portray it in a tragically macabre manner which is emulated on varying levels throughout the caliginous instrumentation and the beast-like vocals.

Dies Irae” is a breath of fresh air from the usual, over-produced death metal releases and is a step back into the old days of raw, unpolished sounds. The album isn’t just old school death metal, it’s cold northern fury moulded into a brutal musical conquest. From the classical imagery of the Gorgon to the biblical references, Narcotic Death have painted a ghastly image of sound with “Dies Irae”.

RATING: 8/10

Dies Irae” – Track list:

1. The Butcher & The Scribe
2. Spell of Suicide
3. The Accuser
4. Throne Of Stars
5. Rain
6. Gorgon
7. Dies Irae
8. Cainite

Narcotic Death is:

Alex – Vocals
Dan – Lead Guitar
Mass – Rhythm Guitar
Rob – Bass
Garth – Drums

About Nico Davidson

Estranged poet, amateur photographer and supposedly skilled writer. Also, a maker of cookies. @NorthSeaStorm

Posted on June 19, 2013, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great review of a great album but pretty sure Anathema are from Liverpool!!

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