Nekrokraft have made a bold move to make their earlier music more easily accessible, and they’ve given us some new tracks too!
Since 2012, Nekrokraft have been making ears bleed and heads bang in their home country of Sweden. Band members Angus (guitars, vocals), Timmy (lead guitar), Simon (drums) and Andreas (bass)have spent the last 5 years honing and strengthening their ferocious blackened thrash sound – and their new compilation called “Witches Funeral” is a testament to that progress.
Now, since the release of their mini album called “Will ‘o’ Wisp” in 2016, Nekrokraft have been kind enough to give fans something to keep them satisfied until their next full release. In an attempt to keep themselves relevant and to garner more interest in the band, Nekrokraft will be releasing a compilation of their early demos, plus two unreleased tracks as an extra treat. Curiously, the band have decided to reuse a title from a previous EP for their new compilation, taking the name of “Witches Funeral“. For Nekrokraft, bringing their previous demos into one comprehensive tracklist has been like digging up a time capsule and seeing what is inside, in a sense. When asked about “Witches Funeral“, Angus had this to say:
Angst: “We often refer to these demos as the forgotten times of Nekrokraft, since we have a hard time remembering the recording session at all. We were wasted and gave in to our fleshly desires…”
The most satisfying aspect of the “Witches Funeral” compilation is how they have ordered the tracks. The album opens with their earliest demos, working through to their most recent efforts before ending on a high note with two unreleased tracks. This gives the listener the opportunity to see how the band has developed and progressed musically in their first crucial year of Nekrokraft’s conception. The scope and perspective this compilation brings is remarkably well-timed, especially considering that Nekrokraft are currently in the studio working on their next LP since “Will ‘o’ Wisp“. In the meantime, fans can look forward to “Witches Funeral” being released on the 19th of January, 2018.
Revisiting Nekrokraft’s earlier work in such a condensed and progressive compilation is a fascinating experience. Hearing the prowess of the drums become more technical and powerful and listening to the gradual development of Angus’s vocals throughout the tracklist are the most immediately noticeable changes in each song. Upon closer inspection, the listener can definitively hear Angus and Timmy’s guitars and Andreas’ bass turn from awkward and not quite in sync to a monolithic structure of complex riffs and heavy basslines to form a much clearer and devastating dynamic.
The two covers on this compilation, Bathory’s “Satan My Master” and Slayer’s “Angel of Death” are interesting additions from their previous EPs. Nekrokraft’s cover of “Satan My Master” brought a new clarity of sound and more forceful vocals that breathed new life and strength into the cover while still keeping the essence of Bathory’s original work.
Nekrokraft’s cover of Slayer’s “Angel of Death” gives a new perspective on the song, with the growling vocals and black metal vibe turning a classic thrash song into a terrifying blackened thrash beast. At first listen, the song is nearly unrecognisable in comparison to the original, and yet without disrespecting or ruining the sound of the original. The most impressive facet of this cover is Nekrokraft’s ability to provide their own unique take on a legendary song.
Moving on to their two unreleased tracks, “They Swim, They Must Drown”, and “Wrath of the Heavens” were recorded in the same year as their early demos. Interestingly, these songs sound like they are far more advanced than the preceding songs in the compilation.
“They Swim, They Must Hang” is a song that doesn’t mess about. It’s fast paced while still retaining precision and intensity. Angus’s vocals are brutally guttural, matching the ferocity of the music perfectly. One dissatisfying part of the song is the guitar solo, its simplicity and lack of conviction is a stark contrast to the thrashing speed of the rest of the song.
“Wrath of the Heavens” is a song that really focuses on Nekrokraft’s strengths. In comparison to the first few songs on the album, Simon’s drumming is unique and well-balanced between fills, blast beats and intelligent patterns. Angus and Timmy’s guitars coalesce into a black wall of blistering riffs while Andreas lays rock-solid foundations on bass.
Overall, this album is a great way of seeing how far Nekrokraft have come over the years, and how much ground they have still yet to cover. This compilation has earned itself a 70/100, owing to the enjoyment gained from being able to clearly experience the development of Nekrokraft’s raw sound.
As we speak, the band is finishing recording their new LP, “Servants”, which will be released in late spring next year. This compilation will be important in keeping their name alive in the meantime and keeping fans eager for what they will do next.
You can purchase a copy of the new album here: http://nekrokrafter.bandcamp.com/album/witches-funeral-reborn-in-fire!