It can’t be overstated how influential early Venom was. While perhaps not the most technically gifted of bands, they more than made up for their lack of virtuosity with pure vitriol and speed. Over the course of their career, they influenced a generation of extreme metalheads, from thrash, to death, to black metal. But for all the influence Venom had over the black metal scene (Hell, they even gave it its name), the eternal question remains: were Venom ever really a black metal band? I’ll leave that for the fine folks on the Metal Archives to argue over, but Necrokvlt are here to answer an equally important question: what if Venom were actually a second-wave Norwegian band? The answer sounds a lot like Schizoid Wizard.
Part of Venom’s appeal was the no-frill, sloppy insanity that could only come from drunken kids jamming out, trying to break all their favourite bands’ speed records. Schizoid Wizard captures that feeling, and pairs it with the darker, more sinister sound of the early Norwegian scene. Imagine, if you will, if someone had taken the best of Welcome to Hell-era Venom, and combined it with the blackened stylings of early Mayhem. The result is as chaotic, fun and fuckin’ metal as you’d expect.
Not a single track on the album stretches past 3:30. Necrokvlt understnad that this sort of music works best when you get in, smash the venue up, and get out as quickly as possible before they realize you clogged their toilet. The band don’t waste any time throwing riff after riff at you. The buzzsaw guitars crank out riffs like it’s no one’s business, and during the blacker segments the tremolos fly fast. Also worth noting are the vocals. The vox come courtesy of Golgotha, who also handles bass duties. The shrieks and howls this kid can pull off are impressive, to say the least. His schizophrenic vocal performance is one of the album’s highlights, when the vocals pop in, they steal the show.
Count Hellsmasher and Malebolge (the guitarist and drummer, respectively) are no slouches either. As I said earlier, there are riffs aplenty on Schizoid Wizard, but his solos are just as good. Malebolge’s drumming screams “80’s speed metal” to me. While not exactly impressive from a technical standpoint, when he has to, he can fly off the rails. He commands his kit, and it speaks volumes that even though the music sounds like it could all fall apart at any second, he and and Golgotha are a powerful rhythm section team, and they hold it all together expertly.
In short, if you’re one of those people who turns up their nose at the mere mention of Venom, you won’t like Necrokvlt. And that’s your loss, cause Schizoid Wizard is fucking rad. It’s one hell of a debut album from a band that’s going places. If this is what Necrokvlt can muster up on album number one, god help us all when they unleash record #2 on us.
You can purchase Schizoid Wizard on Necrokvlt’s Bandcamp page.