While I don’t want to hold it against any particular artist, some subgenres have a tendency to sound a bit stale over time. In order to fit into some kind of description, you have to walk down a fairly narrow and rigid path that doesn’t allow for any kind of variation. You’re either part of that scene or you’re just not. A personal favorite of mine, blackened thrash, has this problem. You have to hit a certain note or you’re out. Releases tend to sound a little indistinguishable from each other since they’re all sort of walking the same path. However, there are those bands and records that try to do something a little new and inject some fresh blood. Denver’s Necropanther is one such band and did it brilliantly on their latest record, The Doomed City.
If you’re not familiar with the band, Denver’s Necropanther has been cranking out a fairly unique brand of metal since 2014. While there is no doubt that their particular brand draws heavily from black and thrash influences, there’s a question in my mind as to how exactly do you describe them. They kind of fit in a few buckets but something about each category just doesn’t feel quite right to foist on them. It’s too upbeat to be black metal, too dark to be thrash but not quite death-darkness. It’s a nice little niche spot to create your own sound, and it comes across as very fun and hooky dark metal music.
The Doomed City perfectly encapsulates all the different aspects of what Necropanther tries to do. The band takes bits and pieces from a lot of influences and makes their own interpretation; The Doomed City takes these various thoughts to build a cohesive tale. Inspired by Logan’s Run, the band weaves a new interpretation of the tale of an environment gone wrong under the watchful eyes of dictators. It’s a very poignant time in history to be recalling the idea.
It’s very interesting to hear this kind of story told through music. You have to be very deliberate with your choices so the story comes across. There are distinct style decisions taking place across this record. Each track has its own unique feel that relates some part of the tale through emotion and imagery. The rub is always in the transitions, but the change between tracks never feels forced. They’re always presenting a spectrum of sounds in everything they do, so each track having its own feel just seems perfectly natural. There is a unique feel to this record that shows off its influences without pretention so it feels palatable to everyone.
With their unique combination of sounds, Necropanther is going to make an original record. There are identifiable bits throughout The Doomed City that draw you in, but hearing those bits slammed together in their own new way is what keeps you going. If one sound of theirs isn’t something you’re usually interested in, you will be curious about what you might be missing in the closing seconds on “Argos”. Listen to it enough and you just might learn something new about yourself.
The Doomed City is out 11/15, and is available for pre-order on the band’s Bandcamp page.