Necronautical – Slain in the Spirit (Review)

Necronautical - Slain in the SpiritNecronautical are a UK black metal band and this is their fourth album.

Featuring members of Winterfylleth and Foetal Juice, Necronautical play black metal influenced by the second wave, in particular the keyboard-enhanced symphonic side of it. To this is added a muscular death metal influence, which is streamlined by the blackened core of the band and used to add a lethal edge to the music. There’s also a progressive metal influence that can felt on occasion, usually in a particular riff, solo, or melody, for example.

Think of black metal that takes elements bands like Cradle of Filth, Emperor, and Dimmu Borgir, and then beef it up with some death metal might, and you’ll be on the way to understanding what Slain in the Spirit delivers. Bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse, Behemoth, and Opeth might lend further reference points here and there, but only in places. Mostly it reminds me of Dimmu Borgir’s Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, but only enough to invoke its thought and feel, and not enough for it to tarnish Slain in the Spirit as a poor copy. No, Necronautical have their own character, and this is a record that stands on its own abilities.

The songs are well-crafted, showing a genuine understanding of the style. At 58 minutes it’s a long album, (which includes a Slayer cover of Disciple as the final track), but Necronautical hold the listener’s interest through savage blackened aggression, engaging dark melodies, proficient use of grim atmosphere, and general good songwriting ability. Everything here sounds as you would want it to for something like this, and it’s an authentic and confident portrayal of a lesser-seen black metal style when compared with some of the others out there. It’s infested with memorable riffs and guitar solos too, which is great to hear.

The band’s symphonic elements are well-rendered and skilfully incorporated into the blackened assault. Sometimes these are tasteful additions to the main bulk of the song, while at others they take centre stage and dominate for a while. Either way, Necronautical have a firm grasp of the symphonic style, and I enjoy hearing it performed so well. These grandiose aspects help lend the music an epic air, while the death metal ones help keep things grounded in harsh reality.

Slain in the Spirit has impressed, and I’ve enjoyed listening to it. Necronautical take me back to the 90s with ease, while also simultaneously offering something strong enough to have a presence in 2021. Yes, I’ve really enjoyed Slain in the Spirit. Make sure you embrace the darkness and absorb what it has to offer.

Very highly recommended.

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