Necrot : Lifeless Birth

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Necrot Lifeless Birth review

There’s a human dangling from a demon’s genitals, which themselves are another demon’s face, on the cover of Necrot’s Lifeless Birth. It’s as repulsive as it is blunt and ridiculous, begging for a reaction while perversely charming, and it’s also the least exciting aspect of Necrot because they are none of those things. The California-based trio are a death metal act you have to hear to appreciate. Their appeal lies deeper than the flesh, and for as simple as it would be to play “Drill the Skull” and intrinsically understand their quality, they deserve a proper discussion. 

On one hand, Lifeless Birth delivers the old-school death metal goods, continuing Necrot’s streak since they released their debut album in 2017. Their evolution hasn’t been revolutionary, but it needn’t be. They have never been flashy or outrageous. They’re a fundamentals-first group who milk the basics for all their worth. The excitement lays in how they execute those basics. 

Despite being a trio, Necrot sound like a band with double the members, employing studio trickery to their advantage (like the multi-layered guitar solo on “Superior”) or just by being damn good musicians. Necrot are coy devils that conceal their technical flourishes inside the tracks to augment them rather than building the songs around the technicality. Tempos and time signatures will oscillate a few times every track in a manner that command attention without approaching overload. “Drill the Skull” spends its first half, well, drilling the skull before transitioning into a cardio workout strong enough that it could’ve been a track by itself. Thankfully, it wasn’t. The dual guitar melodies in the second half come off as a celebration rather than a necessity because they arrive so late in the track.

Further worth celebrating are Necrot’s tight and knotty riffs, wet to the touch and slobbering as they move. Due to how in-the-pocket they are, there’s an urge to ease one’s mind and take them as they come. There’s humility to them, and because they play their part rather than defining Necrot as a whole, they’re capable of drawing you in and making you forget that some of these songs reach over five and six minutes without much effort. 

Don’t be distraught that Necrot tag themselves as “punk” on Bandcamp—refer to the creature on the album’s cover if you doubt that they’re 100 percent purebred death metal. Punk’s music may or may not influence them, but its unsubtle lyrics do, as Lifeless Birth is angry for reasons superseding anger’s sake. It’s refreshing to want to access the lyrics sheet for a death metal song, as you may with “Superior,” but, alas, at this time, that’s not possible. 

Fortunately, Luca Indrio is a relatively decipherable vocalist with the wherewithal to enunciate at the right moments. “Drill the Skull,” “Cut the Cord,” and “Superior” all claim great choruses with chant-along lines, especially the latter, which is a punkish sneer against the ruling class who cannot hide their disinterest in the lives of the marginalized. While the track conveys the broad anger at the situation, Indrio’s court refrain of “Does it look like they give a shit?” points it at the target with a sharpshooter’s accuracy. The sense that Necrot indeed do give a shit elevates their death metal from simply being top-of-the-line performance-wise into something more human.

This human quality powers Lifeless Blood; the equal distribution of labor and spotlight, the blue-collar tracks with white-collar playing, and the organic rage all point to Necrot not just being death metal for death metal. They prove that death metal, without pretenses, can and quite often is, more than its genre. Necrot assert for the third time—following 2017’s Blood Offerings and 2020’s Mortal—that such concerns ultimately don’t matter, because death metal can still satiate even at its most basic state.

Label: Tankcrimes

Year: 2024

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Necrot Lifeless Birth review

Necrot: Lifeless Birth

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