Necrot – Lifeless Birth Review

When it comes to the new school of old school death metal, Necrot occupies a refreshing niche. By that, I mean that they don’t much fall into a specific niche at all. None too interested in the bleeding edge of the style and similarly distant from its grimiest, slimiest depths, Necrot stands alone, simply wanting to rock. 2020’s Mortal has aged remarkably well in its own no-frills marinade, packed with catchy riffage that I still recall with clarity despite years since my last visit. Of course, I might not have spent years away had it been a more distinct offering. Necrot is one of those acts that effortlessly coasts on charm and raw talent, rarely if ever hinting at grand ambitions. It came as a pleasant surprise, then, that Lifeless Birth sees Necrot in a state of chrysalitic emergence. I don’t believe their final form has taken full shape, but Lifeless Birth is nonetheless a vital evolutionary step.

Not that you need to care about any of that to appreciate Lifeless Birth. This is still a Necrot record in all its catchy, groove-oriented goodness. Yet even at its most straightforward, Necrot exercises a newfound obsession with throwing rhythmic curveballs. Riffs often begin life via standard death metal note progressions before unraveling into unexpected progressive tangents, often invoking the deceptive technicality of Cannibal Corpse’s best efforts. These riff structures serve as microcosms of Lifeless Birth’s greatest songwriting feats. From “Drill the Skull” onwards, these compositions pivot well outside traditional death metal in their back halves. “Winds of Hell” stealthily stacks blackened riffs before exploding into harmonized black metal catharsis and “The Curse” deals in burly gallops that echo Amon Amarth. These experimental ventures are often accompanied by unprecedented levels of major key melodics, resulting in a death metal record that feels bolder than most, especially because it isn’t obsessed with sounding mean for its entire runtime.

Lifeless Birth by Necrot

The only thing holding Lifeless Birth back from feeling utterly revelatory is that Necrot often feels withholding during its best moments. The album’s genre-bending heights are often short-lived, reverting to standard death metal fare before the band can properly stretch their experimental legs. This half-commitment ultimately invokes not incompetence but obligation, an acknowledgement by Necrot that they are not abandoning their roots, even if Lifeless Birth would be a better record without self-imposed restraints. To be clear, Lifeless Birth still comes across as impassioned, world-class death metal throughout, even if its purest moments never quite reach the heights of, say, “Sinister Will”1 from Mortal. Lifeless Birth’s first three tracks in general feel a touch repetitive, but I never once thought of skipping them to rush to my favorite bits.

Outside of its boldest passages, Lifeless Birth still feels iterative in Necrot’s catalog thanks to its guitar solos, which have received a bluesy melodic overhaul. These solos are such a marked departure for Necrot that I was legitimately surprised to find that their implementation was not accompanied by a line-up change. What guitarists Luca Indrio and Sonny Reinhardt have crafted here are unquestionably some of my favorite solos in the realm of old school death metal, with the extended dueling harmonies of “Dead Memories” in particular sounding more akin to power metal in their exuberant tone. Moments like these could have shone with radiance were the album’s production similarly ambitious, but Lifeless Birth’s engineering comes across as a fairly standard interpretation of the modern OSDM sound. It’s a good-sounding record, to be sure, but its soundscape feels a bit obvious and lacking in depth.

Perhaps all these new melodic and genre-hopping tricks shouldn’t come as a surprise. Necrot has always bolstered a sort of pop-like accessibility and addictiveness – relative to death metal, that is – and Lifeless Birth’s melodic focus should prove even more appealing to all but the staunchest death metal purists. I only hope that Necrot’s next outing finds them venturing more frequently into uncharted tonal territory. Lykathea Aflame should have been the band that blew the doors off the notion that death metal has to sound deathly serious at all times, but we’re nearly twenty-five years on from Elvenefris, and many of the most popular bands in the genre feel regressive for nostalgia’s sake. With Lifeless Birth, Necrot is showing a willingness to be an exception to this rule with the strongest identity the band has ever had.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Tankcrimes Official | Bandcamp
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 12th, 2024

The post Necrot – Lifeless Birth Review appeared first on Angry Metal Guy.

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