Look, I’m no elitist or diehard, but one thing metal does better than most other genres is album art. Some of the most gruesome covert art can still manage to be meticulously detailed. A fine work of cover art can lend a great deal of insight into an album’s contents. For example, the depiction here (created by artist Marald Van Haasteren) of self flayed human beings throwing their skin off a cliff gives a strong hint to what Necrot’s new album Mortal sounds like, as well as its lyrical themes.
Like the cover art, the death metal three-piece’s musicianship is savage yet precise. Their riffs will mercilessly tear your skin from bone, but the lads are careful not to get even a spatter of blood on that new Ikea couch. They’re technically proficient for sure, but the compelling ferocity of the riffs is what will really bring you back for more. For example, I can’t get enough of the spider-crawl hammer-ons the band does, like in the intro of “Dying Life” and halfway through “Malevolent Intentions”. Necrot is the gift that keeps on giving – in each song, every riff feels like it could’ve easily been the song’s main riff.
Necrot also tosses in a ton of successful tempo changes throughout Mortal. “Asleep Forever” awakens into something fierce, dipping in and out of a half-time groove before eventually unveiling one of the best riffs on the album. The band then throws in a guitar solo over the song’s fastest and slowest sections. The title track serves as a contrast to everything that came before it. The song lies mostly in a hefty stomp, only going hyperspeed in its bridge. While Mortal is solidly a death metal album, the band’s punk influence definitely comes through. “Sinister Will” makes excellent use of skank beats, while “Dying Life” has several grindcore blast beat sections.
It helps that Mortal’s production is fantastic. The mix has the perfect balance between raw and clean. It’s got that cavernous sound found on many death metal albums, but this album sounds like it was recorded in a crystal cave. The three-piece sounds much larger than just three members, and each member’s contribution can be heard well.
The only complaint I could level against this album is that it sounds like a ton of other death metal bands. But fuck me man, good riffs are good riffs. While Necrot doesn’t differ too much stylistically from other modern death metal titans, they make up for it by playing the style to a really high standard.
There’s a fair bit of hype around Necrot, and with Mortal it’s very easy to see why. This is usually the part where the reviewer says they “can’t wait to see what the band does next :D” but honestly, I’m just gonna be spending a lot more time with Mortal and let the band get to the next album when they get there.
Necrot’s new album Mortal is out on August 28th via Tankcrimes.
Best Tracks: Dying Life, Your Hell, Sinister Will, Asleep Forever
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: Blood Incantation, Tomb Mold, Gatecreeper
Overall Score: A-