Necropanther - Official Website
Review by Greg on March 3, 2023.
Necropanther is a recent, but relatively experienced (almost a decade of activity and 3 LPs already under their belt) thrash band from Colorado recently passed under my radar. The lineup features a couple of very early Havok members, yet the recipe presented is definitely different, the band having earned a lot of comparisons with Skeletonwitch on their previous efforts. I feel conflicted, since I admit I've never been too fond of them, but on the other hand I now have another chance to re-evaluate this peculiar style with their 4th offering, the brand new Betrayal, adorned by another of the band's dystopian, unsettling artworks. I'm actually getting pumped. Let's find out.
Getting the obvious out of the way, yes, the two bands still sound alike. Necropanther present us an ultra-melodic (but not insipid) melting pot of thrash, death and black metal, condensed in many short, rapid-fire tracks, over which frontman Paul Anop snarls and growls with an approach dangerously close to what pioneered by Chance Garnette himself. But there's way more to Betrayal than a mere imitation of another band, however faithul said imitation is. When you take into consideration that most tracks don't venture for long past the three-minute mark, you wouldn't believe how many brilliant moments are to be found within them. They jump from old-school thrash bangers ('One And Only', 'Furies') to flat-out black metal segments ('Wanderers', 'Breathe Evil'), with a generous dose of instantly memorable guitar lines ('Covenant') and several honestly jaw-dropping solos (the title-track, but also the stellar 'Into Danger', which basically checks almost all of the above). Granted, you might argue that all this flashy, explosive technicality doesn't sound that far removed from what made "Beyond The Permafrost" a minor classic – yet, a track like 'Don't Stop For Death' offers more in its scarce 3 minutes than lots of albums do in their whole playing time. The huge talent of these four guys is pretty much undeniable.
Now, it may not be my favourite style of thrash metal, it's possibly a bit samey in the long run, and omitting the excessively pedestrian 'Out To The Sand' arguably wouldn't have been detrimental in any way. Still, I'd also lie if I said I didn't enjoy the whole package, also thanks to a massive, pristine production job. As of now, I can't judge Necropanther's previous 3 LPs, but those who still mourn Skeletonwitch's apparent nosedive can more than console themselves with Betrayal, without a shadow of doubt. And make no mistake: the album is well strong enough to stand on its own.
Rating: 7.9 out of 10197