New Houston Metal Supergroup Necrofier Descends to Eradicate the False

Photo by Cammie Gilbert
Dobber Beverly, Christian Larson, and Matt V. Aleman of Necrofier.
A chilly new year is upon Houston, and a chilling new band rises to greet it. Necrofier, an old-school black metal outfit comprising some of the local scene’s leading hell raisers, appeared out of nothingness just in time for the solstice, battle-ready and prepared to rip faces off heads.

Just don’t expect them to do it in greasepaint.

“Nah, we’re from Texas,” chuckles guitarist/vocalist Christian Larson, whose band will be at The Secret Group on March 16. “You won’t see us in a photo shoot wearing, like, goth armor.”

It might make them too hard to recognize. Larson is well known to fans in Houston and beyond as the lead guitarist for Venomous Maximus, one of the city’s top metallic exports. He formed the band three months ago by answering the call of drummer Dobber Beverly, another Houston metal thought-leader newly returned from a European campaign by his progressive metal act Oceans of Slumber.

Though critically acclaimed internationally, the dynamic and soulful Oceans can’t always scratch the drummer’s itch to go completely psychotic behind his kit. A longtime veteran of Texas’ death metal and grindcore scenes, Beverly says he found himself wanting more extremity in his life upon his return.

“Being in Oceans, you get surrounded by a lot of people who aren’t really metal all the time,” the drummer says. “It essentially was born out of, for one, the only thing I haven’t done is a black metal band. For two, I was at a deficit of being as metal as I am all the time. I needed to do something.”

To put his plan into motion, Beverly turned to the most repulsively evil method of communication available to him: Facebook. An open call for comrades went out. It was a message Larson was waiting for.

“He put a post up on Facebook, like, ‘Hey, had a great Oceans tour. I want to do a black metal or death metal band,’” Larson says. “I was like, ‘I’m in.’ I never really though I would get the chance to do something like that. You have to have the right drummer to do a band like this, and I didn’t know anybody—besides Dobber, and I’m thinking he’s busy.”

Busy or not, Beverly was excited by the possibilities.

“Christian and I have known each other a long time,” the drummer says. “I kind of knew how he approaches things. He’s been like the brains or businessperson behind his band, and I’ve been doing the same thing, so to me it was like a no-brainer. Here’s someone equally as driven and into the stuff.”

The pair quickly saw eye to eye on what they wanted to create: a thoroughly Texas take on the kind of brutally technical black metal that caught their ears in the ‘90s. Old-school bands like Dissection and Necrophobic were discussed; riffs were traded back and forth. United by a shared vision, the nascent Necrofier began blasting out new songs designed to catch the global metal underground’s attention.

“We want to make a statement saying it’s not just the Northwest or the Northeast that can turn out black metal in the States,” Beverly says. “Texas is fully able to compete with anybody as far as black metal.

“Though it might be the same members in a lot of the bands,” he adds with a grin.

In order to get the properly heavy sound they were after, Beverly and Larson drafted Mat V. Aleman, a talented local hand and touring keyboardist with Oceans of Slumber who could be counted on to adhere to an accelerated timetable. In addition to manning the low end, the bassist also contributed some lyrics to the new tunes.

“I sat in on one of their practices and heard what they had,” Aleman says. “They were just waiting for me to pick up a riff and I was just sweating. These guys are big dogs and I didn’t want to waste their time. I had to come in and do it. It’s cool to hit the ground running with these guys.”

Within just a couple of months of the band’s infernal inception, recording was underway at Beverly’s home with local engineer Craig Douglas of Origin Sound.

“He rolled up, we set up a mobile rig, ran through the whole recording in about two hours,” Beverly says. “It took longer to drag the gear back out than it did to record. We tracked a couple of takes per song and I just picked whatever was good. We went from there.”

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Album cover
The result is Visions in Fire, a withering, melodic debut EP whose three tracks are packed with tight, pummeling drums, wicked, galloping guitars, and Larson’s blood-gargling vocals—an entirely new trick from the guitarist.

“Half the reason I’m singing in this band is because I don’t want to deal with another person,” Larson says. “I decided I might as well come up with something. I learned a few things from Dobber and (Oceans of Slumber singer) Cammie (Gilbert), like breathing exercises and different stuff. It’s taken a lot of practice.”

The newly crowned frontman’s trial by fire came in December, when Necrofier played their first two shows as support for Portland black metal act Uada on a swing through Texas. The band promises more shows to come in 2019, as well as a full-length debut that’s already written and ready to record.

Whatever malevolence the new record will unleash, its aim will be to return American black metal from the allure of trend-conscious depravity back to a technically-minded assault calculated to repel the weak.

“Texas doesn’t have a whole lot of black metal bands,” Beverly says. “We’ve got a few, but we don’t have any like us, and we need bands like us. Real black metal is like an old guy’s sport. The younger people, the kids who are into black metal, are depressed emo weirdos. The idea or the lifestyle is more of an appeal than being able to actually fuckin’ play it, so it’s kind of a letdown.

“We’re not a goofy smiles band,” he continues. “We’re not going to do fuckin’ quirky shit. We’re all from a background of metal that was meant to be serious and different.”

Necrofier is scheduled to perform March 16 at The Secret Group, 2102 Polk. Doors open at 8 p.m. For information, visit Tickets will go on sale Saturday, January 25.