Sure, it may distinguish some artists from contemporary, popular tech death metal bands, but acts described as “old-school death metal” often seem to be purveyors of timeless death metal. Oakland’s NECROT most certainly forward a timeless death metal construction delivered with the coarse punk edge clearly reminiscent of genre pioneers and Bay Area death metal forefathers AUTOPSY. One might say NECROT is more NECROPHAGIA than NECROPHAGIST. Following the path of its demos and “The Labyrinth”, a compilation of said demos, the unit’s proper debut full-length, “Blood Offerings”, is a workmanlike exercise of gritty, raw death metal. The album marches forth with enough structural simplicity to lend itself to a broader kind of accessibility whilst retaining death metal’s core elements such that one would be hard pressed to find a purist who would disapprove of the band’s approach. In short, “Blood Offerings” is one of 2017’s best death metal albums.
Opener “The Blade” sets the tone. It explodes out of the gate with a falling-into-the-pits-of-hell, winding, dizzying riff that’s propelled by Chad Gailey’s drum work. His unstoppable hammering never lets up throughout the release. There’s almost a sense that the trio is attacking their individual instruments more than playing them. Yet, unlike many modern extreme metal acts that focus upon excess and non-stop belligerence, NECROT unquestionably wields its tools of destruction with a keen sense of songwriting and a frequent undercurrent of melody, most notably on a cut like “Beneath”.
Bassist Luca Indrio—also of Bay Area death dealers VASTUM—barks with a menacing, inhuman roar, while guitarist Sonny Reinhardt draws the band’s warpath with a sense of clarity He does this without relying on excessive repetition, and his ideas remain interesting from start to finish. Traces of NWOBHM shine throughout NECROT’s debut, most brightly during the final minute of album closer “Layers of Darkness”, which showcases the kind of guitar work Reinhardt is known for with SAVIOURS.
“Blood Offerings” offers enough simplicity and succinctness, delivered with the potency of a knife to the chest, to find its way into the collections of heavy music fans who are typically unfamiliar with death metal, a genre that’s an acquired taste, to be sure. There isn’t much by way of originality, but NECROT assembles a collection of classic sounds in an undeniably timeless style with a fresh, forceful and memorable delivery.