NECROT - The Labyrinth LP
Necrot's The Labyrinth was one of my favorite comps of 2016 not because it did anything elaborate, innovative, or super-exciting so much as it allowed a listener to trace a true through-line of songwriting evolution across three demos from a band who actually manage to fulfill some potential before play's end.
Hailing from Oakland and comprising current and former members of that city's war crust and doom/sludge scene, Necrot takes those two currents of sound and attempts to twist them into death metal. And while they struggle to do so at first, by comp's end, they've nailed it.
I won't lie, the first two songs, from the band's initial demo, are nothing special. "Consume Control" and "Contagious Pain" are both boring slog-alongs of mid-tempo groovy sludge punk with shout-y vocals. Perhaps Necrot were still too locked into previous styles to shed them? I skip these two songs now and as lead-off tracks on this comp, they make a weak first impression.
If things had kicked off with "Into The Labyrinth," from their second demo, things would be different. "Into The Labyrinth" cracks you over the head with a very grimy take on late-era Dismember: rippin' Swede-death caked over with extra layers of slimy distortion, not forgetting to add hooks to the riffs and vocals (much deeper now). This upshot lasts among the second demo's other two tracks. Outside of the super distortion, most of the groovin' sludge influence has been shed and the crust influence comes out more as Necrot fuses their war crust DNA to a very Swedish cast of death metal. In this they are mostly successful.
Things pay off mightily on the third demo. The war crust by way of Dismember style is even more in evidence. The sludgy tone is mostly gone and the songwriting chops have gone up another notch. The slicing riffs and ravaging chorus of "Scattered" show true growth and "The Abyss" is good enough for me to consider Necrot future contenders for prime death metal dominance. If they can continue to hone their writing chops and add a little more creativity to the mix, we might see all this hard demoing work pay off for them soon. -Televiper11
On Tankcrimes Records.
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