I've bumped into death metal from the unlikely source nation of Bahrain before, through a Smouldering in Forgotten album, but I like this more, even though, at only twenty-four minutes, it's what they call an EP and I'd call a mini-album. It's old school death metal, so much so that it reminds me of a few of the first death metal bands I heard, like Possessed and Morgoth, when the genre was still growing out of thrash and figuring out what it was going to become.
Necrosin mostly play a bouncy form of death, which is on show immediately in the opener, As It Is Above, So It Is Below, which leaps into the fray with such punk urgency that I wondered briefly if it might be a Black Flag cover, but it develops into a more chuggy death metal song with some neat changes when it gets to the guitar solo. Under a Violent Moon follows in much the same vein and that was enough to cement the opinion that this is a death metal band who would play well to an overtly thrash metal audience. Sure, they're downtuned a little and Möhämmëd Tael sings with a harsh voice but it's not a million miles away from a lot of early thrash bands.
For all that punk urgency, which was always a part of thrash too, they're surely more influenced by metal, because of the instrumental sections. It's not particularly progressive, but the changes are highly capable and they shift in and out of sections seamlessly. There's speed metal at the start of Banners of Hate and a hard rock breakdown halfway through to set up a strangely slow solo with a Metallica-esque backing. It's an interesting shift between styles that works well. There's plenty of Iron Maiden in the progressions late on as well as midway through Enslaved, when they highlight a fondness for the Powerslave era.
The most unusual song has to be the closer, Beneath the Waves (The Hymns of Decay) which flows well from Enslaved until we suddenly realise that Tael is singing clean. At least, I presume it's him, though Mahmood al-Ansari is credited for backing vocals, on top of what he does behind the drum kit. I'm not seeing a bassist listed and, for the most part, I can imagine that there isn't one, but it does seem like someone's there playing at a lower pitch at points behind Tael's guitar. Maybe I'm just imagining it. Maybe that's what shapes the sound a little differently to normal for death.
Anyway, Tael starts harsh, as he's been across the previous five songs, and he stays there for much of the song. When the tempo drops soon after the three minute mark, though, it transforms into a heavy metal song, a little progressive and a little power, but ultimately just rock music. There's a four note melody here that reminds me of the intro to Robert Plant's Big Log, which is about the last thing I thought might ever come to mind when reviewing a death metal EP from Bahrain. It's like the intensity is deliberately shifted down through the gears, so we can politely move on. It's a surprising ending, but I rather like it.
I like Necrosin more the faster they go, but they're not bad in chug mode either. Bow to Me sounds great early on, but it's slow. It promptly ramps up and it's all the better when it's got momentum behind it, but it's easily my least favourite song because it keeps slowing down again. It's capably done, so fans of that slower, chugging approach ought to dig it, but I was waiting for it to kick back into gear every time. My Necrosin is the faster, earlier stuff. Whenever I start again, I'm refreshed by the speed and urgency, but lose that as it runs on, focusing instead on the unusual aspects.
Best of luck to Necrosin though. Bahrain doesn't look like the most oppressive state in that part of the world, but it can't be the easiest job in the world to play death metal there. I appreciate their dedication to keep it at and to create something as strong as this, whether we call it a mini-album or just an EP.