War Atrocities is a Croatian black/thrash solo project masterminded by vocalist and guitarist Wastelander. After a demo in 2014, “Necromantical Legions” was the next step. Though this release boasts 7 tracks, there are 6 full songs. “Screams From The Pits” is an instrumental intro that successfully conjures a dark, brooding atmosphere, with minimal metal contributions. Things really get going on “Destruktor of Eternal”, a song that demonstrates both the strengths and flaws of War Atrocities’ music. This track shows an incredibly tight blackened thrash sound, with more emphasis on having a decent production than a noisy one. Indeed, every instrument on this release is easily to hear (the thick, distorted, Venom-like bass included). Unfortunately, this relatively clean sound also displays the biggest problem with “Necromantical Legions”. On more than one track, there is either some kind of extreme tuning issue, or an insanely incompatible and ill-advised harmony going on. Based on how blatant this is, one would think it is intentional, but even in the context of a black metal-influenced band, it is not easy to appreciate.
The good news is that this issue is not pervasive, which again leads me to believe it is a purposefully strange harmony. Most of the album unleashes primitive, Venom or Bathory-inspired riffs, atop awesome rocking drum beats. These riffs take the simplicity of the NWOBHM sound, and put a more sinister twist on them. The result is quite effective, as this style of riffing is consistent with the overall primordial atmosphere of the release. Even the vocal approach is not overly complex. Bathory again appears to be the main point of reference, as Wastelander utilizes a mid-range growl almost exclusively.
“Necromantical Legions” doesn’t really throw any surprises at you, but it doesn’t need to. War Atrocities clearly subscribes to the philosophy of less is more, and this is clear in their pure worship of bands like Venom and Bathory. If they can get the tuning (or songwriting) issue sorted out, it would go a long way towards making this release more impressive, but this sound only does show up on a few riffs throughout the EP, so it can be largely ignored. While not original, “Necromantical Legions” is nonetheless powerful.
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All of it
3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott