Apparently, this is just a death metal blog now. It isn’t, I’m just on a roll listening to music and have been falling further and further behind in my movie watching. Oops.
Necrot is a relatively new death metal band, having formed in 2011 with a handful of demos brought together into a compilation released in 2016. Last year, they finally released their first, bloody slab of a full length titled Blood Offerings on Tankcrimes Records. While they seemed to bubble under the surface of death metal for so many years, with Blood Offerings, they’ve emerged from the primitive swamp to lay one foot firmly into the headbanging public’s eyes.
There’s a big debate among aficionados of death metal about whether we’re stuck in the past, worshiping what came in the early ’90s and letting nostalgia reign supreme over what bands are worthy of checking out. Everybody and their mother has an OSDM band right now, and since the veterans of the scene seem to have dulled their once sharp fangs (read: they’re almost all old, tired, and bad now), should we replace them with young, hungry clones? Or should we eschew the past and push boundaries forward today? Artificial Brain certainly lean towards the latter, but from my old heyday of reviewing a whole slew underground metal, the universe seems to want the former. I used to think we should let the past be and charge forward into the great musical unknown, but then Blood Offerings came into my life.
The Riffs, Man
Just a fraction of the first song “The Blade” was all I needed to get hooked. I was at work, and right after I fired up Blood Offerings I was pulled away from my desk. I spent the rest of the day just itching to get back to it, because while it just seemed to be wholesome, old fashioned death metal, it somehow had wormed its way into my ears deep enough to leave me wanting more. Once I eventually got back to my desk and could dig into the album, I began to realize why I was so enticed by it. Now, after many repeat listens what I hypothesized that day was cemented and confirmed to be true: Necrot don’t worship the death metal of yore. Sure, they wear the robes of the cult of Bolt Thrower, but their idol is not War Master. Necrot worship The Almighty Riff.
Blood Offerings clocks in under 40 minutes across 8 songs and in the notes I prepared for this review, I used the word “riff” 11 times, one of which was a thought I had on the album’s closer “Layers of Darkness” which just reads:
It might be a bold statement, but I’ll stand by it. Guitarist Sonny Reinhardt bludgeons you with flurries of 16th notes from beginning to end inspired by the brutality of American and European death metal, punctuated as well by some Bay Area thrash and hardcore vibes. Hammer-ons, pull-offs and the occasional harmonized guitar passage (such as on “Empty Hands”) keep things interesting from a melodic standpoint, and Necrot don’t shy away from slowing down to a mid tempo breakdown on Blood Offerings‘ title track and “Breathing Machine”. The guitarmonies (look it up) feel like a cross between Swedish melodic death metal and NWoBHM, and the solos never come across as an afterthought. Solos come in smoother than you think, with actual thought being put into the melody and phrasing instead of ripping a page straight out of the book of Slayer and blasting through chaotic, sloppy shredding. Throughout the whole experience is Luca Indrio’s grindy, heavy as all hell bass tone churning underneath these bangers, locking in with Chad Gailey’s energetic drumming which supports every song with a thick layer of grime underneath the riffage.
Old School, New School, or Somewhere in Between?
So, let’s touch back on the discussion earlier. Necrot might be relatively new (especially compared to their upcoming tourmates Cannibal Corpse and Morbid Angel), and like any other new band they only get compared to bands that were relevant three decades ago. Blood Offerings is held up to seminal albums by Bolt Thrower, Autopsy, and Suffocation as if no progression to the genre has happened since Effigy of the Forgotten came out. Necrot prove that sentiment wrong, not only hearkening back to the sound that old, grouchy death metal dads like so much, but by slowly building on the fusion of pan-continental death metal, thrash, and hardcore across the past thirty years. Sure, Necrot don’t look to the stars like some of their experimental or avant-garde contemporaries but they don’t pander to the mass of listeners who vilify anything that varies from Immolation or Grave. They currently sit happily in the middle, honouring the titans that came before, but making music that actually strikes out from the OSDM-revival craze. I can only see Necrot branching further and further out from what’s expected of them over time, slowly amalgamating even more influences from across the metalverse into a truly unique band.
Blood Offerings is just the beginning.