Along with having what may be my new favorite band name, Necropanther strikes me as sounding a lot like Skeletonwitch. Of course, clean Iron Maiden-style guitar harmonies and legible death rasps are nothing new in the post-In Flames world of melodic death metal. But the emphasis on shorter song lengths, tight thrash tempos, and a cold atmosphere go a long way in triggering the association.
It also helps that the sound and musicianship are incredibly tight. The production job, courtesy of the legendary Erik Rutan, is quite polished; it aids the melodic guitar work and even lets the bass occasionally shine without sacrificing the brutality. One must give additional props to vocalist/guitarist Paul Anop, who is able to deliver the album’s Dune-themed lyrics with clear enunciation that doesn’t sound cheesy.
A focus on such straightforward songwriting often results in soundalike songs, but that is thankfully averted here. While there are a couple songs that run together at times, particularly at the album’s beginning, plenty of tracks manage to make themselves distinct and memorable. The black metal flavor on “Kiss of Darkness” is promising, but things really get interesting in the second half as the catchiness of “The Weirding Way” and “Fedaykin” bring to mind Amon Amarth. The instrumental “Strange Gods” is also worth noting as it closes the album out in a triumphant fashion.
Necropanther doesn’t have much in common with Khemmis or The Flight of Sleipnir musically, but their second full-length is the latest proof that the Colorado metal scene is truly something special. Fans of all the incestuous hybridizations between thrash, black, and death metal are strong advised to give Eyes of Blue Light a listen and prepare themselves for a fun blast of energy. I bet this band kills it live.
“Kiss of Darkness”
“The Weirding Way”