Necro Facility- Wintermute review
Label: Artoffact Records
When a band chooses to make music for the underground, most times they play it safe by sticking to one or two genres and then slowly branching out over several releases. Sweden’s duo of Oscar Holter and Henrik Backstrom (Necro Facility) have always taken a much different approach: You are hit with killer tracks from a half-dozen angles and are left thinking ‘What on Earth was that? But I LOVE it!’
Debuting in 2005 with The Black Paintings, these two young men made waves in the Stockholm scene with their experimental, part Industrial part New Wave sound but were not taken as seriously as other acts because their experimental leanings were not quite like anything else at the time. 2007 saw the release of The Room, which set underground radio and certain clubs in Europe ablaze but didn’t progress terribly far beyond those connoisseurs already in the know. The fusion of old school Wave with newer genres like Electro, TBM, and Synthpop showed serious promise even as the band simply vanished. Perhaps they were simply ahead of their time and a victim of what was popular in Sweden at that moment. Both men continued working on productions of other bands’ albums and stayed in contact with each other but many scenesters simply forgot about them over time. Late in 2010 they reappeared as Necro Facility and helped Covenant create the smash single “Lightbringer”, reintroducing their odd sounds to the younger, slightly more modern (and certainly more spoiled) club goers worldwide. Recently they have released their third and most triumphant album, Wintermute.
To say this album is amazing is a bit of a misnomer. This should launch them into serious album of the year discussions and open the door to conquering North and South American clubs for people who didn’t know them before while making good on all their early potential buzz. The whole experience is simply impossible to pigeonhole because of the line-blurring sounds inherent not only over the course of the album, but even within each self-contained and seriously off-kilter track individually. While many bands that take the experimental musical route end up with a beautiful [sounding] mess, Necro Facility have also appropriately shown an inherent production ability that keeps this album tightly contained within itself and true to a core feeling. Wintermute feels as cohesive emotionally as it does foreign sonically.
“You Want It” opens the album in powerful fashion with a Dark/Harsh Electro track with harmonious vocal hooks, while “Fall Apart” stands out for its Rock influences laced with a nice EBM beat that opens up even more crossover potential. “Waiting For The Snow” slows you way down to an almost Ambient crawl that fans of Displacer and Somatic Responses will drool over, then “Ignite” does just that as it fuses Electro-Rock guitar with melodic Synthpop layering that soars and tops out with grating Metal vocals to create something epic. My personal favorite track, the instant-club legend “Supposed”, finds a way to seamlessly blend TBM, sugary 90’s Wavepop, and modern club Electro in a way rarely heard while showing the duos’ vocal mastery from highest to lowest register. The album closes out with “All That You Take”, a tear-inducing love ballad that recalls early VNV Nation in its emotional complexity.
The problem for me as a reviewer and as a fan is that no words can do them justice. It isn’t even a matter of whether potential fans will like this or not; No amount of genre comparisons or name dropping accurately reflect any of the nuance and uniqueness that this album actually sounds like. You really have to hear it for yourself and make your own judgments on whether it works for you or not. Wintermute is at one time both harsh and beautiful, club-ready and stereo-friendly, and from what I have been told crushing in their live shows. While being bold and uncomfortable is always a danger, Necro Facility have delivered and if you are a fan of all things Electronica you would be missing out on a must-own if you don’t snag this immediately.
For fans of: Leather Strip, SITD, Rotersand, Covenant, Vomito Negro,Cassandra Complex, Method Cell, Assemblage 23, Ambassador 21, Common Man Down, And One, Aesthetic Perfection, Prometheus Burning, Plasmodivm, Din [A] Tod
Must have tracks: “You Want It” “Do You Feel The Same?” “Fall Apart” “Waiting For The Snow” “Ignite” “Supposed”
- You Want It
- Do You Feel The Same?
- Fall Apart
- Waiting For The Snow
- All That You Take