Death Courier – Necrotic Verses (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Death Courier’s 2009 resurrection had, thus far, not been particularly productive, yielding only a single studio album (2013’ Perimortem), a split EP, compilation and live album.

But the Greeks have more than made up for that with Necrotic Verses, a searing opus bathed in malevolence and blazing with old school death metal ferocity.

The trio save the best ‘till last, with Remnants – reminiscent of Close To A World Below-era Immolation – riding a punishing, death groove before climaxing with an eerie, blastbeat-driven plummet to earth. Complex and enthralling without ever losing its molten core, the song is Death Courier’s definitive ‘we’re back’ statement and a memorable way to draw Necrotic Verses to a close.

Pillars Of Murk, however, runs Remnants close – the song sees Death Courier take Morbid Angel’s twisted blueprint and bend it their own infernal will – while on Immune To Burial, guitarist George Petousis makes his frets howl with some of the album’s most hellish riffery.

There are some missteps: the jarring When Death Fits The Skin doesn’t quite hit the high quality mark found on much of Necrotic Verses and As Heaven Blends With Rot lacks the initial thrust which would have made it really take off.

But those underwhelming efforts are eclipsed by the blackened fury of the title track and the precision death/thrash of Mourning Ecstasy, which directly precede them.

OK, so only frontman and bassist Billy Soulas remains from Death Courier’s original ’87 line-up, but on this evidence, he clearly remains tightly bonded with death metal’s DNA. Add that to some supreme musicianship from Petousis and drummer Ilias Iliopoulos, and you have a winning formula… and one hell of a comeback record.