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NECROPHOBIC - Mark of the Necrogram

Release date Feb 23/18 (Century Media)

Necrophobic peaked in 1999 with the release of their The Third Antichrist opus, the follow-up to 1997's strong Darkside album. The Swedish unit subsequently issued four albums, the first three of which were solid entries, but not quite up to par with the aforementioned highlight releases. More disconcertingly, the last album, 2013's Womb of Lilithu, was a direct miss, easily being the most disappointing of the Necrophobic catalog.

Which brings us to the new Mark of the Necrogram platter. Out is long time vocalist Tobias Sidegard, in is Anders Strokirk, returning to the mic stand more than twenty years after his initial foray with the band. Don't worry though, the impact is negligible given that both vocalists share similar gargle vocals.

Upon first listen it's immediately obvious that Necrophobic have returned to their core sound, up-tempo blackened death with melodic guitar phrasing being the order of the day. Insidiously catchy, it often gets the listener to reach for their air guitar for some energetic faux-fret work. Of utmost importance is that there isn't a drop off in quality as the album progresses, the entire release being of similar exemplary blackened death. The excitement is back.

[7.5]

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