Review: NECRO “Propaganda” [Sliptrick Records]

Review: NECRO “Propaganda” [Sliptrick Records]

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Necro’s Propaganda is basically a dark joke album. It’s creepy and gross, but it’s not to be taken seriously. They make an album about their views on society and name it Propaganda. They open the album on a heavy number, full of joyfully growled lyrics about being a “toothless zombie”. They sing/scream about superheroes with a sort of forced joy. They bitterly remark that they feel only lust and rage in their old age, and end the album on a ballad about how everything is lost.

If it’s a joke, then is Necro what we might derogatorily call a novelty act? Well, they are a bit of everything. They are sometimes funny and sometimes serious. They take themselves seriously enough to tell us about their views of the world (you must fight against GMOs, prejudice, and turning into a mindless and toothless zombie), but they are not above making some jokes. And they are inspired by various sub-genres too. I’d say that, because of the short, politics and society-themed songs and the harsh vocals, they are some sort of grindcore. But they are labeled as thrash metal by iTunes, and they do have some thrash elements. But they have some ballads and vocally, they use growls, shouted vocals and cleans vocals. And most importantly, while the “novelty act” label tends to imply that the music isn’t solid enough, you don’t have to worry about that here. The music’s good. The songs have energy and rage. But the best things about this album are the versatility and the vocals.

It’s quite amazing to hear the many different styles in that album, from the death/thrash of “Toothless Zombie” to the short ballad with few lyrics of “We are the same”, including the hardcore punk of GMOs and the sort of parodic thrash/power of Superhero. And it always works, never seems to be odd or out of place. The instrumentation crushes and bites when it needs to be, and melancholic or eerie when it needs to.

Though I’d say that the vocals are the album’s best strength, after the lyrics, or rather, the joke. The singers seem to have a whole bunch of different voices, from a beastly growl to his regular, low and slightly raspy singing voice, and he might have other voices that we haven’t heard yet. A singer that can do so many things and darkly funny lyrics are indeed great assets to have, but I have to say that the instrumentals aren’t quite as outstanding. Not bad at all, obviously, but I feel that the rest of the band, while pretty competent, is mostly there to back up the weird lyrics and the crazy vocals. It can be hard to remember a riff from the album, especially a riff that doesn’t sound like something you’ve already heard somewhere else.

I’m not saying this to explain why this album is bad. I don’t think it’s bad, really it’s quite enjoyable overall, I can hear a lot of good ideas here, but I just don’t think the album is perfect. Just to explain what the weakness of that album is, and telling people what they should expect: an album with interesting lyrics and vocals that are put front and center, while the instrumentals are, well, in the background. But like I said, there are many good ideas in this album, so if you don’t mind bands that play a bit of every sub-genre, and take themselves seriously but not too much, you can give this one a try.

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