Necrowretch’s second serving ‘With Serpents Scourge’ proves death metal is best served raw

NecrowretchGnarling, mangling, mean death metal is as fun as any form of music, if you ask me, and can be the best that the metal world has to offer. That’s when it’s done in a certain way, when it’s ugly and menacing enough, when it gets horrible blood flowing a little faster through your veins.

A few years ago, metal giant Century Media signed up little-known French death metal unit Necrowretch to go alongside their wildly successful, jamming-Best-Buy-aisles bands that are way more prominent in stature. And that’s actually a good idea, because to have a label with the sway and recognition level as Century Media, they easily can add credibility to a smaller band that’s as good as—and I’d say better than—most of their other acts. Necrowretch was a pretty bold singing for them, but the band came through in a big way with their thunderous debut record “Putrid Death Sorcery” that was one of the finest death offerings of 2013. After just a couple of years, these guys have come raging back with a massive, impressive second album “With Serpents Scourge” that ups the ante and just hammers the living hell out of you. If you liked their first record, be prepared to be blown off the planet.

Necrowretch coverThis band is gnarly, mean, and the epitome of graveyard-ready death metal. Their riffs rule hard, the vocals are mean and hardly polished, and you can just get inside their world of madness and let the grotesque horrors take you away. This trio—vocalist/guitarist Vlad, bassist Amphycion, drummer Ilmar—have sharp teeth and unkempt claws that enable them to go for the throat and pull out your guts, and over two records now, they’ve proved themselves one of the deadliest, most feral death metal bands going. As filthy as this stuff can be, it’s also a great pleasure to hear play out, and these guys are building a massive amount of momentum that won’t be easy for people to ignore.

“Black Death Communion” is the perfect beginning, with noise welling up, water dripping as if in a dank basement, and then strong, ripping guitars hammering you, getting ready to chew up your flesh. The band starts to chug with speed, with vicious growls spilling out, a boiling, stinking aura being set up, and monstrous growls dealing a bloody exclamation point. “Feast Off Their Doom” is righteously titled, with a riffy, mean disposition and the drums being pasted heavily. The vocals go from gruff growls to violent shouts, while the guitar work sounds feral and galloping. The title track follows, with mangling growls leading the way out of the gates, smothering death piling on top, the drums again taking a wicked beating, and the band stabbing forward, spitting out their fury. “By Evil and Beyond” is fast and dressed in murderous blasts and heavy riffing. Again the band dines on speed, with the guitar work tearing worlds apart and the band hitting a rowdy, boiling finish.

“The Bells of Evil Schism” bursts open with no warning, with a thrashy, mashing assault, the guitars absolutely ruling and setting everything ablaze, and a real sense of menace entering the picture along with a renewal of their thirst for blood. “He Thrones on Thy Sins” is heavy and merciless, and what’s become a recurring element, the drums are just beaten into the soil. The music starts to bubble up like a lake of blood, both thick and ripe with stench, and the back end is slammed shut with a heavy dose of crushing. “Even Death May Die” is torn open from its center, with the pace clubbing with pure devastation and a nasty, sharp-toothed fury of fists to the face. There is some great soloing that emerges, splashing this track with a classic death metal feel, and it leads its way into a solitary moment of calm. “Infernal Imprecation” is a quick interlude that’s rolled over the drums and a haze of sound that could lull you into a false sense of security. Then closer “Motem Ritu” unloads buckets of miserable doom, with the tempo rumbling hard, more killer riffs rushing in like a pack of heathen warriors, and the vocals sounding as raw and painful as anywhere else on the record. As the song builds its temper, the soloing kicks out and lights up the sky, and the final moments give the band a last chance to terrify you and rip you limb from limb.

Necrowretch’s fury continues to get more and more violent, as well as satisfying, and “With Serpents Scourge” continues their absolute assault on the death metal world. They may not be a featured release at your local big box store, but they’re death at its best, most raucous. This is audio violence through and through, and if you aren’t overcome by their ferocity and terror, then maybe you need to listen to something a little more gentle on your senses, you big baby.

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