United States of America (USA)

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Necrot continue their ascent to the forefront of American aural extremity, pushing the boundaries of style and continuing to recast metal in their image. Founded by bassist, vocalist and principal songwriter Luca Indrio and drummer Chad Gailey in 2011 – guitarist Sonny Reinhardt joined the next year – the Oakland, California, trio offer Lifeless Birth (in continued collaboration with Tankcrimes) as a culmination of their to-date efforts to encapsulate and push forward the deathly stylings of 2020’s Mortal and their 2017 debut, Blood Offerings.

It’s not about giving up a ferocity that’s helped make them a household name among the converted. Instead, Necrot use that same, by-now-characteristic intensity as the backdrop for an expanded songwriting palette. They’ve always been a band who stood out. The maturity they show on Lifeless Birth confirms that’s been the plan all along. It is a vision of what metal can be and do in 2024, tearing down old barriers and keeping those traditional elements that make it stronger.

Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Greg Wilkinson (who has helmed all three Necrot albums) and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege, Lifeless Birth pivots fluidly between technical intricacy, progressive poise and all-out brutality. Scouring lead work will have thrash heads nodding knowingly, and an overarching groove reaches out across the metal microgenres with a righteous call to worship. Its songs are memorable and varied, unpretentious but able to rear up with statelier violence. At the same time, “Drill the Skull,” “Cut the Cord,” “The Curse” and others prove that just because a song is beating you into the ground doesn’t mean it can’t also be forward-thinking. Or catchy.

After having their Mortal tour plans scuttled owing to the covid pandemic, family health issues that led Luca, who became a US citizen in 2016 and currently lives in Mexico, to return to Italy for a time canceled what would have been their first tour post-plague. Still, despite this and Chad suffering a broken back, requiring multiple surgeries and intense physical therapy to be able to drum again, period, Luca being struck with Bell’s Palsy the night before he was originally due to fly to the studio to record, and Sonny requiring multiple surgeries on his hands in the months since they finished, Necrot charge forward with material distinguished in its real-world point of view and willingness to look beyond extreme metal tropes in lyrics, the melodies of its guitar solos, and unbridled audience engagement. For a collection of songs that feel so much written for the stage, it should be no surprise tours early in 2024 and summer festivals are to be announced.

Mortal (2020, Tankcrimes) was #2 on Billboard’s Top New Artist chart, #30 on the Top Current Albums chart, #4 on the Current Hard Music, and #10 on the Heatseeker Albums chart for week of release. Necrot have toured in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan, and shared the stage with Cannibal Corpse, Immolation, The Black Dahlia Murder, Suffocation, Morbid Angel, and hundreds of others. Expect no letup as Lifeless Birth brings Necrot all the more to their own place among metal’s superlatively aggressive proliferators. – JJ Koczan