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Necrowretch - Putrid Death Sorcery

[28th February 2013]
[Century Media]

01. Ripping Souls Of Sinners
02. Purifying Torment
03. Goat-Headed
04. Putrid Death Sorcery
05. Impious Plague In Catacombs
06. Spewed From Hell
07. Defiler Of Sacrality
08. The Anthropomancer
09. Soiled Into A Crypt
10. Necrollections
11. Repugnizer

With their debut release Putrid Death Sorcery, France’s Necrowretch conjure up eleven tracks of grimy death metal goodness. Necrowretch is the brainchild of guitarist and vocalist Vlad; who has become increasingly dissatisfied with the trend of modern metal bands who often rely to heavily on post-recording primping. You can certainly feel and hear this sort of disdain in his erosive vocals, which are reminiscent of Jeff Walker‘s (CarcassHeartwork era vocal styling. Certainly on first listen, the initial thought that comes to mind is “old-school” which is certainly a term Vlad, and bassist Amphycion both embrace, and try to redefine.

The band was formed by Vlad in 2008 who was impressed by the raw energy of Death‘s classic Scream Bloody Gore album, and like a man possessed picked up the guitar and learned to play. Within months he had recorded some demo guitar tracks and attracted bassist Amphycion; by the middle of 2009 the duo had composed their first demo. With a string of festival performances in the following years, the band caught the eye of Century Media Records who then signed them to their label.

The musical dynamic of the album certainly harkens back to the advent of death and extreme metal, when sub genres were not as narrowly or critically defined as they are today. As the album progresses you hear various shifts and instrumental passages which evoke both this spirit of tribute, and new exploration. I couldn’t help thinking about, and juxtaposing Putrid Death Sorcery against Darkthrone‘s Soulside Journey and Marduk‘s Dark Endless because of the way that they all intelligently blend influences of black and death metal to create their own distinct sound. All of these albums serve as a sort of framework for their respective band’s musical fabric.

On the subject of musical fabric, the album is punctuated by Vlad’s scratching vocals which are both sharp, and with the help of an echo filter, equally desolate. While much of the album is composed of furious uptempo passages, the album really shines in its slower moments. The album’s title track exemplifies this as the first half of the song is a fervent tumult of stabbing vocals, whiplash drumming and rolling bass lines. However a bit past the half way mark, the song shifts into a sequence of tremolo riffing accompanied by strong guitar chords. Vlad then bellows out a prolonged screech which is matched by a slower riff that encapsulates the overall feeling of dread and oozing evil that the song is trying to convey. This contrast lends power and strength to their music.

Necrowretch took somewhat of a gamble when making this album. It seems that in this day and age more and more bands are focusing on who can be the most “brutal” or who can have the most technical time signatures or tightest recording. However it seems that Necrowretch simply don’t particularly care about any of the trends which are pervasive in the modern metal scene; and even though this album lacks any real eye-popping, breakthrough technique, the conviction of Vlad and Amphycion to make an album based solely on what they want and enjoy in their extreme metal is surprisingly endearing. Overall, their decision to return to the origins of death metal is a solid, refreshing, or rather reputrifying trip which I believe most fans, who lust after the glory days of extreme metal will certainly enjoy. Plus the album artwork is fantastic.