It’s become a theme here and most other places that embrace true, ugly death metal, in that the sub-genre is packed with way too many slickly produced, Hot Topic-pushed, mundane, garbage bands calling themselves death metal when, in reality, nothing about them rots except their reputations. But the real stuff is out there, and one must just find it.
Luckily, Century Media is making your quest a little easier. OK, yes, I know that they also have championed some of the fakey death stuff that’s blotted national tours and probably brought in a lot of money to keep the label going as strong as it is. Whether you or I like it, that’s economics, especially in an era when record sales aren’t exactly at an all-time high. So to CM’s credit, they also brought in a nice new crop of true death metal bands lately, including Sonne Adam and Morbis Chron, maintained ties with great artists such as Asphyx and Grave, and have a stellar history of bringing you some of the best metal there is to offer from groups including Bloodbath, Celtic Frost, Immolation, Tiamat, Emperor, and so many more.
So in the spirit of keeping their death reputation strong, they also recently inked French trio Necrowretch, a true throwback-style death-and-doom-laced band that only had a few smaller releases–two EPs, two demos– to their name before they got signed. Small resume aside, whoever went out and pursued this band and got their debut full-length “Putrid Death Sorcery” under the CM banner really did his or her homework. This is a great sounding, worm-infested, true death metal band that brings back the haunted spirit of the sub-genre and easily could help revive what this style of music was about when it started and is desperately trying to get back to again. Oh, by the way, Vlad points out in the group’s bio that the band doesn’t give a shit about following idols or trying to revive a sound. They’re playing what they feel, so the old-school tag just comes naturally. It’s not contrived.
Necrowretch are comprised of Vlad, who handles vocals and guitars, and Amphycion, who plays bass. There also is quite skillful drumming on their debut performed in studio by Morkk, though live the kit will be inhabited by Desecrator. The record is retching (fitting, eh?) and horror-filled, and at times when I’m not thinking about classic death metal with these guys, my mind wanders to Finnish beasts Hooded Menace and their tapestries of horror. Either way, you’re in perfectly good, albeit calloused and wart-filled, hands with Necrowretch if you like your metal ugly and scuffed up. Also, if you like skillful playing and classic metal chops, you’ll also have plenty to love about these guys, because they’re really skillful at what they do and obviously have the spirit and energy to get across their message effectively and violently. It’s one hell of a great listen.
While “Putrid Death Sorcery” is not a concept record, the songs do involve a character known as the necrowretch, or priest of doom, going around and infecting, not saving, souls. Actually, we get right to that on nasty, guttural opener “Ripping Souls Out of Sinners,” where the damned face what they have coming to them and the nasty riffs and growls set the stage for what follows. “Purifying Torment” has tortured vocals, a flurry of lead lines, and some piercing noise to hammer-smash home the point. “Goat-Headed” is a speed demon, with a thrashy, blinding pace, throaty vocals, and heavy and thunderous death sequences. The title cut is more calculated and creepy, but it has its fiery, gory moments as well. “Impious Plague in Catacombs” begins with creaking and monstrous yelps for help before a cascade of ugly doom and death bleeds out, including some truly scintillating leads and soloing.
“Spewed From Hell” should be fairly self-explanatory from its title, and it mostly is as menacing as you’d think. The vocals sound yacked up, the screams are menacing, and the drumming is outright brutal. “Defiled of Sacrality” has doomy leads and really strong guitar work that pays homage to thrash and death, and it’s one of the tracks that really shows how talented these guys are as musicians. “The Anthropomancer” has a flurried opening and dips into some classic metal terrain, then into a killer thrash metal storm. “Soiled Into a Crypt,” aside from being an awesome song title, is fast, blistering, and takes no prisoners, while “Necrollections” has dizzying, swirling melodies and a tricky composition that makes you feel trapped in a vortex. Closer “Repugnizer” closes the record with more bone-crushing drumming, mind-blowing speed, and a monstrous classic death display that ends everything on a proper, blood-soaked note.
Thumbs up to Century Media for plucking Necrowretch from the underground graveyard and giving them the wide release they deserve for “Putrid Death Sorcery.” Hopefully they give this album a nice push. As for Necrowretch, they’re another example of a new death metal band that has its sights toward devastation and horror and not getting glossy photos into magazines. They are another band reviving what true death metal is about, and their debut is providing plenty of grisly fun to get us through these winter months.
For more on the band, go here: http://necrowretch.net/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/Item/Necrowretch_-_Putrid_Death_Sorcery_-PRE-ORDER-/44365
For more on the label, go here: http://www.centurymedia.com/