Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Necrophobic - Bloodfreezing (1994)

Necrophobic's Bloodfreezing demo was recorded in early 1994 yet only shared with people close with the band, not receiving an official release until much later. This was the first recording with Tobias Sidegård handling vocals duties, and also features new member Martin Halfdan, on guitar. This is an interesting piece of the band's history, as it shows them transitioning from the Satanic Death Metal of The Nocturnal Silence toward the colder Black Metal feeling that would dominate their second album, Darkside.

Musically, it is very clear that main songwriter David Parland was becoming a bit bored with the Death Metal scene and was delving deeper into Black Metal territory, also recording the first Dark Funeral E.P. around this time. Though Necrophobic's sound was already darker than that of the average Swedish Death Metal band, the material on Bloodfreezing shows that they were distancing themselves ever more from their peers. There is a definite Dissection influence, here, with a similar cold and melodic sound. Even the vocals sound a bit like Jon's work on the demo for The Somberlain, possessing almost a hollow quality. "Black Moon Rising" is a fast-paced track, which is really satisfying compared to some of the material on The Nocturnal Silence, just for the fact that there were more mid-paced parts on that album that felt like they were holding something back, at times. "The Call" is much the same, starting with a sombre bass line before unleashing the freezing cold of Nifelhel. The songs sound, more or less, arranged and finished, not showing much deviation from the versions that would appear on Darkside, though still very interesting to hear how they sounded with Parland's playing.

The overall sound is kind of rough, as it is a demo recording, but still of high enough quality to hear everything that's going on. As a matter of fact, even in this condition, it sounds better than some full-length albums that were being released at the time. The guitar tone is not quite as cold as what would be heard on Darkside, or The Secrets of the Black Arts for that matter, still retaining kind of a Death Metal sound despite the actual songwriting being different than before.

It is too bad that Necrophobic did not manage to record their second album a year or two earlier. I have no idea if the material was even prepared, but if Darkside had been released in 1995, with David Parland still involved, it might have gained more recognition than it did. This was certainly a band that deserved more attention and should have gained a wider following in their earlier years, especially compared to many of their contemporaries. The Bloodfreezing demo is further proof of this. If you're looking for these tracks, pick up the Spawned by Evil re-release.