If you’re not familiar with the terminology “plastic metal”, then here comes a bit of history to you. On the now classic 2007 Darkthrone album F.O.A.D. the expression appears in two occasions: on the track Canadian Metal (“Canadian metal, just obey / On your weak sounds (new plastic metal) we will prey...”) and most notably in the song Raised On Rock (“It went plastic in '94 / oh my god you're such a bore / if you don't understand what I mean / fucking listen to Venom's "Acid Queen"”) meaning that black metal (and thus metal in general) had became more well produced, hence turning the purest form of metal into plastic.
Nekromantheon was born from this ideology, being their sole purpose to lash out all that is plastic, and boy, they meant business!
Rise, Vulcan Specter, is the martial climax of a thrash metal offensive against false metal packed into 30 minutes of pure devastation. The opener is called Cast Down to the Void and throws you right away into the state of calamity and ominously flogging atmosphere. Rapid beatings and changes in rhythm set in the confusion, and the chorus is an explosion of in-your-face shellings.
Being Norwegians it’s easy to compare Nekromantheon (which means something like Temple of The Dead) with their countrymen of Blood Tsunami, for example. But the former’s sound is much more explosive and has all those high-pitched soloing of the Belle Epoque of thrash metal. Aura Noir, Gospel of the Horns and Destroyer 666 are their closest references.
Blood Wisdom is a flamethrower, incomprehensible when you hear it for the first time, but one can perceive some of Kreator’s Flag of Hate… backwards!!!!
The strangest and most hermetic song of the album is Embrace the Oracle, which seems utterly off the wall, but in a good manner, if there is such a thing. It’s so rapid, odd and unrhymed that it is fun to try to solve the puzzle. For example, after an interval in which the rhythmic guitar dominates the scene, the vocalist Arild Myren Torp unleashes an “I’m possessed” that sounds like an error in the final mix, then a solo comes suddenly and the song abruptly ends! Arrrgghhh, you actually feel like you’re in a middle of a pitched battle, besotted and hopeless!
Coven of Minotaur has an introduction which sounds like Slayer’s Hell Awaits, but the comparisons cease here, and Nekromantheon seems to have fun citing pieces of famous thrash songs. But it’s just a joke of theirs, no plagiarism here, pal!!!!
Now come the two best songs on the album: the destructive The Usurper Command with a peculiar passage: after the first chorus, the drummer makes a turn a la Sepultura from Bestial Devastation or Schizophrenia, a pattern more apparent in their first full length, than in Rise, Vulcan Spectre.
Finally the title-track with its riffs like an atomic bomb set to destroy a metropolis in the rush hour. Fuck Me!
The last two songs continue the steamroller shape of the others.
When it all comes to an end, it seems that the fallout will bring an eternal nuclear winter. 2012 is just beginning and I can see my top-albums-of-the-year list 12 months ahead.
Rising Vulcan Spectre is the Magnus Opus of a young band that has lots of fuel to offer in the next releases. If the future shall bring acclamation or disavowal, I can’t say, but plastic metallers and all their scene pose will hate Nekromantheon. Good jobs guys!