Published Oct 17, 2019Necronomicon have been around an obscenely long time to just be getting noticed now. After forming in 1988, their output was sparse during the '90s and 2000s. But in the last decade they've put out four albums, raised their international profile and become known as one of Canada's best true black metal exports. On UNUS, Rob "The Witch" Tremblay is pulling out all the stops. It might be Necronomicon's most confident-sounding album yet.
There are no ideas on UNUS that weren't perfected in the early aughts, but Necronomicon show better mastery of their bombastic elements than before. The band's love affair with Dimmu Borgir is front and centre, edging close to a full-on symphonic sound in some places, like the wildly over-the-top "Vox Draconis" and Eastern-tinted "The Thousand Masks." Of course, Necronomicon always default back to ravenous black metal and "Paradise Lost," "Singularis Dominus" and "Ascending the Throne of Baator" are decent entries into the band's catalogue. But it's always more exciting to watch them stretch their creative chops.
The overhaul in Necronomicon's lineup really shows on UNUS. Jean-Phillipe Bouchard (of the underrated Magister Dixit) stirs up a storm on the drum kit, turning the first moments of "Infinitum Continuum" into a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. And when they channel old-school death metal on "Cursed MMXIX," it's a rush to hear the bass and drums click. It's much less lo-fi Norwegian and more razor-sharp Death or Cannibal Corpse, surely the best track on UNUS. Again, Necronomicon shine brightest when they push out of the rigid box they've built for themselves.
Black metal has been experiencing an unprecedented impact on the mainstream. Legacy acts like Necronomicon are getting a second chance at life. On UNUS, it seems the band have seized the chance and are running with it. The European festival circuit awaits! (Season of Mist)