After a demo recording and a split with fellow metal dad Domestikwom, New York’s Necrolytic Goat Converter are set to unveil their first full length album, Isolated Evolution. In the interest of transparency, it should be noted that the man behind Necrolytic Goat Converter, one Chris Voss, is a friend and fellow writer here at Nine Circles. Let me tell you, though, if I found this album lying on the sidewalk, picked it up, and listened to it without knowing who made it or what I was in store for, I would still have found an album that truly captivates and resonates with me.
Isolated Evolution sees Necrolytic Goat Converter mold their already eclectic brand of black metal into new shapes and shades. From the melancholy rung notes of opening track “A Quiet Affirmation,” to the raging stomp of “Seraphim,” to the unexpected Alcest-esque glory of “The Calamity of Not Knowing,” it’s clear that a wide net was cast during the songwriting process. The diversity of influences that went into Isolated Evolution, which is expanded upon by the project’s progenitor here, makes for a compelling and eclectic listening experience, but more importantly helps maintain the identity and purpose of Necrolytic Goat Converter. At its core, Necrolytic Goat Converter details one man attempting to reconcile the darker side of human emotions and find a measure of catharsis on the other side. Just as anger, depression, anxiety, et al have many faces and ways of manifesting, so too does the music attempting to capture and expel these emotions. Isolated Evolution is an album that is personal to its author, reflective of the emotional and physical work that he put into it, yet contains a familiar human essence that any listener who understands the message behind it will instantly connect with.
Speaking from a musical standpoint as well, Isolated Evolution one-ups its predecessors in major ways. In addition to being able to seamlessly bind disparate influences and make them his own, the songs individually feature new and surprising touches that contribute highly to my enjoyment of the album. Chris has always had a great ear for melody, and that carries over to Isolated Evolution. Big, affecting guitar lines like in “Eternal Winter (The Still)” hit right in the chest and draw you in, to say nothing of the previously mentioned closing track “The Calamity of Not Knowing,” which breaks through the gloom like rays of sunlight cutting through storm clouds. Some of my favorite moments on the album, however, are the new guitar effects that are brought in. In particular, the chorus pedal that makes its appearance at the end of “A Quiet Affirmation” and on the solo in “Eternal Winter” adds a welcome flair that was missing from Demo MMXVI. Couple that with the enhanced production value (also courtesy of the man behind the songwriting) and NGC’s progress between albums is truly humbling to behold.
Continuing in a tradition where I review bands whose names are silly but whose music is deadly serious, Necrolytic Goat Converter have once again blown me away with their music. Isolated Evolution succeeds on every level it attempts to, and leaves me wholly excited for the future of this project. Word on the street is there is more where this came from soon, so get on board now before regret consumes you.