VOTA REVIEW: Ostara demo, Necropole

With Hellfest now behind us and Mütiilation's amazing show as well as the beautiful French countryside etched firmly in my mind, I have been on a bit of a French Black Metal binge lately. After hammering my way through the obligatory Les Legions Noir stalwarts Vlad Tepes, Mütiilation and Torgeist as well as modern French hooligans Peste Noir I finally got round to this beautiful little demo tape from newcomers to the French Scene Necropole. I received a flyer for the band’s first demo last year in a distro order and its no nonsense photocopied DIY presentation had piqued my interest. I had been meaning to check them out for a while but there are only so many hours in a day and I had never got round to it. However with my current post Hellfest French BM obsession reaching its peak the time was certainly right to get my hands on some material by them.

Ostara is the second demo from Necropole and follow up to 2014's Atavisme, which I now wish I had picked up at the time I got the flyer as it's proving rather difficult to find. After listening to so much LLN stuff recently I had made an assumption on what the band was going to sound like from the presentation and the fact that they were a French Black Metal band, and boy was I wrong. Necropole have a sound more akin to the Finnish style of Black Metal than their LLN predecessors, and this certainly was a welcome surprise. The music is very riff and melody driven but sits atop a coarse mid-tempo back drop, maintaining its rawness in a very old school style and all without losing too much of the haze sound. The vocals are great too. There's a haunting painful sorrow in the cries and the delivery reminds me of Varg's performance on the first few Burzum records. Another thing I really like about this demo is how high in the mix the bass is - quite a rarity on Black Metal record - that gives the demo a really nice, thick rhythm section which really helps carry the riffs and gives the material a much fuller sound. With three solid tracks clocking in at just over 20 minutes the demo soon flies by, but at no point does it feel incomplete or lacking. It's well rounded and engrossing, maintaining a compelling atmosphere and leaving you drawn to hit the rewind button and go again for another spin. The band clearly draw a lot of inspiration from the Finns and even elements from Eastern Europe style wise and it is very apparent in the music presented here. I can't help but love the way in the age we are in now the different regional styles of Black Metal are starting to merge and cross into other scenes and influence the newer bands. It's like seeing a style you love through different eyes, twisting and shaping the sound then putting their own stamp on it. I guess this is just how music evolves but it's interesting watching it happen contemporarily rather than studying it retrospectively and Necropole certainly are a shining example of this - many influences and sounds coming together yet not trying to imitate them but moulding to form their own identity from it.

Ostara really is a fantastic demo and if it is a taste of what's to come then I will be waiting for a full length release with baited breath. Necropole are certainly a band to keep an eye on and I would highly recommend getting yourself a copy, especially if you like your Black Metal laced with catchy riffs, haunting vocals and hazy raw production. Just out of interest Ostara - or Eosturmonaþ as the Saxons used to call her - is a Germanic Pagan goddess of the Spring and is linked to the pre-Christian European Easter festivals and traditions. Also she is believed to be an earlier Proto European incarnation of the Norse goddess Freya. Two of the members of Necropole are in another band called Caverne who are absolutely fantastic and are well worth checking out especially if you’re a fan of Bathorys Viking era albums.



Artist - Jesters of Destiny
Title - The Sorrows That Refuse to Drown
Label - Ektro

Thirty years after Jesters of Destiny arrived, dropped Fun at the Funeral and disappeared back into the night, they’re finally back with a second full length release courtesy of Ektro Records, and whilst it could never live up to first album, the eccentricity of the band shines through once more and it’s a crazy ride from start to finish. Pick it up on April 4th!


Artist - Hammerfest IX
Date - 23rd- 26th March
Venue - Pwllheli, Wales  

One of our main highlights of the year, this month we’re off to Wales for Hammerfest, HRH’s Heavy Metal flagship. With the return of two Power Metal titans alongside a host of others, this year looks to be one of their best ever. We’ll be covering the whole festival