Midway through track four on Necrofier‘s new album, the penny drops: Burning Shadows In The Southern Night is one huge, tar-coated bastard of an album.

That’s ‘huge, tar-coated bastard’ in a good way, of course; They say everything is bigger in Texas, and, with regard to melodic, crushing, blackened heavy metal thunder the old adage would appear to be true – I’ll be very surprised if I hear a bigger sounding release in this field as 2023 wends it’s benighted way to a climax, that’s for sure.

The band made a conscious decision to get back to a more organic production process this time around and that’s apparent even in the earthy warmth of opening instrumental The Fall From Heaven. However once the real fun and games kick in with following choon Total Southern Darkness, it’s clear that it’s not just that single aspect of the band that has changed – this is, in essence, a complete overhaul. And my how it’s worked!

The pummelling Whispers That Burn In The Dark, for instance, is simply stunning, stoving in the listener’s ears from the get-go thanks to a very metal scream from vocalist Bakka Larson before going on to give a fabulous exposition of the blackened arts over the course of four and three quarter minutes of pure metal grandeur. This is a the sound of a band not scared to throw caution to the wind and just go for it, and the result is predictably rewarding for both audience and creator alike.

Credit for this state of affairs must go to engineer Joel Hamilton, who reportedly was the man responsible for coaxing this audacious set of performances, but he was only working with what the band gave him – and that, it transpires, was rather a lot. Standout cut The All Seeing Shadows signals the success available to the band by working to Hamilton’s blandishments, harnessing ethereal female vocals to their default hack and slash with spine-tingling results, but in all honestly there isn’t a moment on the record that won’t have you catching your breath and revelling in the splendour of it all. Some albums are made simply to wallow in – and this is one of them. Wallow away!

Burning Shadows in the Southern Night releases on June 2nd.