"Necromantic Maelstrom" (Lich King; 2007)

Reviewed by Spudbeast


The entire feel and emotion of Lich King's debut album can be summed up with the title of the second track: "Caveman Aggression." Primordial and brutal, "Necromantic Maelstrom" is not for everyone and, had it not been for my affinity for crust punk, I probably would have turned it off after thirty seconds. But I happen to like raw, undiluted brutality and, if that's what Lich King set out to do, they succeeded brilliantly.

Thinly produced and backed by what must be a drum machine, the album begins with "Lich King" which is played with a treble-laced guitar and sung with garage-quality vocals. The afore-mentioned "Caveman Aggression" follows up with nice thrashing instrumentality. A poke at comedy is next: "Mascot War" has lyrics involving heavy metal mascots slaughtering cereal mascots. Nice odes to metal mascots, such as Sergeant D of S.O.D. and Vic Rattlehead of Megadeth assaulting cereal mascots like Toucan Sam.

A more mid-paced thrashing mosh piece is next, with "Reavers" cutting back a little on the sheer speed of the album. "Bleeding and Screaming" brings back the pace with "Show No Mercy"-era Slayer riffing, accompanied by Assuck drumming mayhem.

Something in the production really brings on the previously absent bass on the next track, "The Werewolf," which is full of raspy, fast sung vocals. The guitar suddenly loses its treble on the next track, "Thrashssacre," which actually makes it much more like Slayer. The final original track on the album, "Kill Your Guts Out," is even more poorly produced (which the band apologizes for in the booklet) but it's tolerable.

The album is capped by two covers: Vio-Lence's "Bodies on Bodies," which is an odd choice (Lich King just doesn't seem to have the melody that Vio-Lence did) but delivers and the Exodus classic "A Lesson In Violence" which, while obviously not as good as the original, is a much more suitable cover for this band.

Overall, "Necromantic Maelstrom" may be unoriginal but it is a fun experience mostly due to the sheer rawness. If you've listened to the likes of Doom and Disrupt, and you like thrash, then Lich King is for you.

Just get a real drummer, guys.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.