Narcotic Death – Dies Irae

Self-released/independent

Review by Nico Davidson

When you mention Yorkshire, people – more often than not – will think of Yorkshire puddings, white roses and Emmerdale. Of course, it won’t come to a shock to some that Yorkshire is responsible for birthing some well known names in Metal: Saxon, My Dying Bride, Evile, to name a few. However, if you delve deeper in the grim and unforgiving Northern stretches of land that make up Yorkshire, you’ll find a truly spectacular extreme metal scene and from that come the grim northern bastards Narcotic Death.

Opening up with The Butcher & The Scribe, the banshee-like vocalist Alex has no trouble unleashing her bestial growls to accompany a stream of chilling guitar passages, laid down by the foreboding duo Dan and Mass. The ghastly track Spell Of Suicide weaves more misery through the use of guitars, reinforced by the autumn whisperings of Rob’s bass work. The lyrics etch out the finer details of the musical portrait of winter sorrows. Rob’s use of bass adds a darker touch to The Accuser whilst the guitars and drums, as supplied by Garth, paint a image of anger. Throne Of Stars is a welcome dirge, that erases any trace of summer upon the wintry winds of guitars as the blunt force of drums echo through the storm. A chilling and haunt touch is added to the track by the vocals, wraith-like in their performance, adding to the death knell.

Rain unleashes a vexing gale of frozen rage that pales to the masculine-orientated hatred found in the lyrics of the track Gorgon, which in its music alone, is full of passion and ire. Nearing the twilight of the album, comes the aptly named Dies Irae (Latin for “Day of Wrath“). The track embodies a twisted and infectious dose of misanthropy that is spread through each screeching note of the guitars and every growled lyric. The bass and drums add a thunderous effect, emphasising the hatred that flows through the very being of the track. Cainite terminates the album, which tells the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain, in a manner that Narcotic Death know best: with raw, arctic riffs and feral vocals.

Cold. Dark. Somber. Dies Irae is the exact opposite of a Yorkshire pudding but just as enjoyable with a Sunday dinner. The album has a unique, wintry sound to it yet it is also reminiscent of the early days of death metal. The gritty, unpolished sound of the album is proof that even today’s death metal bands can have the same bite that the older generation once had and Dies Irae is the album that will sit Narcotic Death upon a throne of stars.

Rating: ****/5

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