NECROCURSE, Shape of Death (2012, Aftermath Music)

The skull:
I’m certain we’ve seen this exact skull before, ‘shopped into some other dull cover, but I’m not about to look it up. Here he is, tinted pink, smiling atop some very fascist-looking lightning bolts and an upside-down cross. It’s all impossibly dull, but the saving grace is that this was released as that rarest of novelties, the shaped CD. In 2012, no less. In fact, I’m not sure there’s even a printed-on-paper cover, just this disc in a clear case. That’s kind of cool, as a physical artifact, but it doesn’t excuse the total dullness of the design. Necrocurse has done other good work in the medium of Big Dumb Skulls, for which The Council is grateful, but if they keep up this kind of shoddy work, they might find themselves without the friendship of some very important, hooded figures.

The music:
Necrocurse are a bunch of old dudes from medium-famous underground bands (Runemagick, Swordmaster, and the biggest, Nifelheim) united in their common love of Swedish death metal demos of the late 80s. If you like Carnage, Merciless, Nihilist, Grave, or Nirvana 2002, or modern knock-offs like Entrails or Repugnant, then you’ll probably like Necrocurse. I know I should like all these Stockholm syndrome bands about as much as I like the 10,000 new thrash bands who aren’t as good as Havok (which is to say: not much), but I really haven’t been exposed to too many Retombeds to be totally annoyed, and anyway this particular bunch of dudes have at least some claim to the sound. Shape of Death is a compilation of a couple EPs with a few bonus tracks tacked on, and it’s solid, but probably not the best introduction to the band. Then again, their lone EP is ever-so-slightly less derivative, and that could be a good or bad thing depending on your disposition.
— Friar Johnsen

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