The band’s moniker also carries an interesting meaning, with the root 'necro', relating to the exploration of death. A few of the titles of the songs we are presented with seems to linger in that space, of exploration and the path of wisdom, finding out that all we see and hear can be a bit of a travesty ('All is Vanity', 'Lure of the Abyss'). 'Apotheosis' is very much a melodic journey, with each listener traversing their own path of self-discovery.
The first song on the album, 'All is Vanity', is a fine example of the 'exploration of one’s inner demons’, as well as how we interpret those demons in others. The song begins with a simple type of Gregorian chant, which has become a favourite of bands to either begin or end a particular track. The calm gives way to the pounding double bass and leads into bleak yet fierce melodic lyricisms. As the song treads on, a steady yet memorable pace, the listener is left with torturous yet memorable lyrics; and all vanity is lost.
The next song, with a Latin title that in English translates to - “Nothing Under the Sun”, begins with quite the grand entrance. It is a bit speedier than the previous song yet carries the listener along with simple yet unforgettable guitar riffs that do not linger near one chord for TOO long which leaves the ear on edge, wondering where the notes are going to lead to next. Yet the band manages to also stay within its’ own comfortable confines, for there are no outlandish solos nor diminished chords. The tempo seems to change like a windy day; a few 'gusts' may sweep us away for a moment with the soaring tempo but we are brought swiftly back to the foothold, under the Sun.
“Lure of the Abyss”, at a comfortable six minutes, is the next track on the album. It is a quite precocious song, despite using a hypnotic beat with a trance-like feel. This is a song that most definitely brings with it the moniker, 'melodic black metal’, with the emotive guitars carrying the song & inviting in the repetitious (yet not annoying - ly), sweeping chord progressions that are a bit adventurous in comparison to the previous songs. The vocals are also a bit higher up the register for the typical “black metal” vocalist, yet it only adds to the unique sound of this song and of the band, as a whole.
“Apotheosis”, the albums’ namesake, opens with a sombre acoustic melody; the acoustics being amplified with some effects that give not just the guitar but the feel of the song an interesting sound. Not unlike the previous three songs, there is a catchy melody, yet this song’s declamatory feel pushes the listener to a higher level. The tempo jumps around quite a bit, as do the melodies that ring with a ferocious nature - from a sombre beginning to a nail-biting, teeth-grinding end, this is a 'catchy' song that holds up to its’ namesake (being the title track) and was chosen to be for good reason.
Following the title track is “Here Begins the Fall”, a discordant mixture of melodic guitars, quite vivid vocals that are accompanied by acute, LEGITIMATE guttural screams. A “hear me NOW” type of song, this demands not just the attention of the listener but also the aggression of the listener. By far, the heaviest drum solo on the album presides in this song, yet it also boasts melodic solos that are not only voluminous and mindful, they are also very catchy - which will draw all types of metal music listeners who love the guitar as the focal point of a song.
“Totentanz” follows; it begins with a very 'new-Satyricon' sounding feel; the background choral vocals, the slow yet heavy as hell pace on drums and the defined verse-chorus-verse. As it continues on, it also seems to borrow elements of older Ulver albums, with their melancholy choral monotony that always seemed to be present in the older, and even some of the newer records. Necronautical seems to borrow this element and give it a unique dreary sound of their own.
The title, 'Totentanz', means “dance of the dead” and was written by Franz Liszt - the composer. This should give one an idea of the nature and SOUND of the 'song inspired by the dead'.
The final track, “The Endless Spiral”, begins again with an acoustic introduction. The melodic miasma is the focal point of this song; it is just shy of eight minutes, with acute melodies spread through the delicate weaving of the “never-ending spiral”. The song should be “The gentle Giant “, as it carries all of the weight of the other songs and delivers a sombre and simple message that life is a non-ending spiral, a circle that continues.
With “Apotheosis”, Necronautical bring the listener to the forefront of their ideas; at times angry and wilful; others are a bit moody and thoughtful. It is a kaleidoscope of different images of life and the world, as seen through the minds of the members of Necronautical, keeping all the key elements of black metal with their own diversity gives it a melodic yet ruthlessly punishing quality all their own.
The album is out NOW on Candlelight Records.
Review by Marisa Dymond