When it comes to extreme metal I find that more often than not I tend to disagree wholeheartedly with the masses. Especially when the masses are composed, as is often the case with black metal, by a bunch of poser "journalists" whose only experience with black metal is that of watching documentaries on church burnings and Luciferianism, and attending ludicrously commercial-friendly live events by their favorite MTV approved satanic-garbage metal band.
On a few occasions however, as far-fetched as it may seem, I am forced to concede that the masses are actually right and that the hype is justified. Such is the case with Phantom's debut, the masterpiece Divine Necromancy.
Phantom knows how to make a compelling album, and they do it right. Halfway between raw atmospheric madness and a slug-fest of über-gruesome brutality, Divine Necromancy is the defining album in heavy metal history.
Seriously, Divine Necromancy is one of these albums that comes along and changes everything. Do yourself a favor, even if you are a suicidal emo that enjoys cutting himself while listening to commercial sell-out metal, and go buy this album.
Modern "satanic" bands, who place imagery over musical talent, could stand to take a few lessons from Phantom. Despite not being a black metal itself, the band Phantom masters nonetheless the essential elements of the black metal genre, namely the macabre atmosphere.
While the modern black metal scene has turned into a gigantic mock homosexual parade of makeup wearing posers playing generic rehearsed crap from several generations ago, Divine Necromancy is as close to true black metal as we've seen in a long time.
Divine Necromancy manages to create a frighteningly sickening atmosphere that builds in intensity throughout the eight tracks of the album, with the ominous horror building ever so steadily until the dreaded conclusion, in the form of the title track "Divine Necromancy".
The music alternates between a slow, raw build-up and a brutal, almost technical release. The alternating between tension and horror gives the entire album a claustrophobic feel, making the listener wonder if he is ever safe or not.
The riffs are demonic, heavily distorted but with just enough clarity to make out the hypnotic tunes played alongside raging ritualistic blast-beats. The bass is clearly audible at some parts, while the metallic and overly aggressive sound of the drums makes the listener cringe in revulsion. The vocals are Phantomesque : deathly, hateful and grueling to the listener's sanity.
The music is at times both menacing and beautiful, invoking a sense of dread in the listener, who feels himself trapped in an abandoned torture chamber, slowly drifting into madness as his sanity slips away.
There are very few extreme metal albums as powerful and evocative as Divine Necromancy, it is truly a masterpiece of unrivaled wickedness.
Divine Necromancy score: 10/10 (Amazing Metal)