Punishing, savage, treacherous, merciless, bloodthirsty, bulldozing, butchering, buzz-sawing, spine-rupturing, bludgeoning, battering, primitive, old-school: All descriptors that threw all-too familiar punches toward the eyes, sternum and gut as I read the accompanying email for this promo. If you’re no stranger to metal reviews or metal PR messages, words such as these have become as intimate and comforting as the nuzzling couch blankie you swiped from that horrid ex who didn’t appreciate the Demilich supplement in the car on the way to Valentine’s Day dinner.
“Spine-rupturing” was a nice touch, I have to admit.
Need a few more old standards? Skin-flaying, ruinous, pernicious, annihilative, withering, bone-shattering, bone-powdering, bone-crunching, hammering, pulverizing, face-peeling, neck-snapping, gruesome, crushing, bruising, ear-exploding, chest-caving, murdering, gutting, stabbing, slicing, hefty, lumbering, ponderous, elephantine, massive, pummeling, walloping, ripping, vicious, cruel, barbarous, diabolical, monstrous, savage, depraved, ferocious, vile, decimating, masochistic, and, of course, the belle of EVERY ball: Brutal (and its cousin from the slammier side of the tracks: Brotal.) I use ‘em, you use ‘em, we’re all cruisin’ for a heavy metal modifier bruisin’.
In truth, it’s difficult to come up with original ways to describe metal that’s…well, as brutal as what Necrot delivers, just as I’m sure it’s difficult to come up with original ways to play the kind of death metal Necrot chooses to play. But as it’s been expounded upon ad nauseum, particularly by me within these very halls, originality ain’t always the pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow; sometimes you just want death metal to kick ye where the good Lard split ye, and that’s precisely what’s on tap for the duration of The Labyrinth’s 33 minutes.
If the songs look at all familiar, it’s because they are. The front two cuts landed on 2012’s Necrot demo, 3-5 dropped via Into the Labyrinth during that same year, and 6-8 first popped up on 2014’s excellent The Abyss EP. In short, this is Necrot’s full discography to date charmingly collected and crammed into your earholes via the always attentive Tankcrimes Records. It’s a great move, really, as this represents the first time the band’s material has been offered on wax and CD. And for the bangers who still pitch tent for cassettes, the good folks at Sentient Ruin Labs will also handle a run of tapes to further pollute your smelly ol’ Walkmans.
As for the actual style of death metal delivered, think punky, to-the-point sadism with equal pinches of early Bolt Thrower and Swedishish savagery. It takes all of about eight seconds for the listener to realize these dirty goons didn’t exactly cobble the band together with some sort of hope of making a difference in the scene or pushing any goldarned envelopes. Sometimes bands just want to pulverize your stupid face, and Necrot does just that in a very candid and refreshingly blunt manner.
The earliest material is, naturally, the most straight-forward and raw, but the aggregate work is truly consistent across the board, with the most noticeable difference being the melodic embellishments by way of additional guitarist Sonny Reinhardt (Saviours, Watch Them Die and Mortiis’s Nose) throughout the most recent material from The Abyss. A cut like “Rebirth in Chaos” maintains the cardinal rule of ferocity, but that’s a damn nice lead that ends up splitting the depravity right around 3:21.
Death by pitiless decimation is the principle mandate here, however, and no song delivers it with more brutish sentiment than “Cycles of Pain.” That 40-second mark is still the heaviest thing that happened in 2012, and that includes the end of the world at the hands of the Mayan calendar. The greasiest, most blubbery bass (Luca Indrio of Vastum and Acephalix), an absolutely rotten riff, and a perfect, near-peppy drum complement (Chad Gailey of Atrament, Caffa and Rude) deliver a heaviness distinctly reminiscent of the Rottrevore “Crude Domination” days.
Still here? Or was your head nuked by the ruthless, mutilating, toxic, exterminating, voracious, calamitous, trampling, murderous, inhuman, ravaging, mammoth barbarism of Oakland, California’s most unmerciful death metal battalion, NECROT.
Thankfully, some of life’s decisions remain as simple as simple can be: If you want to get killed by some wicked-sweet death metal, get those fat-assed wallets out and pick up The Labyrinth.