Before it was melodic or technical, or brutal, or infused with hardcore, death metal was filthy. I don’t necessarily mean gory, though that is often a side effect of buzzsaw riffing. No, old school death metal has its own sense of melody, brutality, and speed, and California’s Necrot understand that perfectly. Their debut somehow feels like a trip back to the early 90s while also sounding surprisingly fresh.
This isn’t Death or Entombed worship; instead, Blood Offerings sounds like a, well, blood offering to all of the old gods of death metal at once. Necrot’s sound maintains just a dash of thrash’s speed and a bit of NWOBHM’s flair, which was a hallmark of death metal in its infancy (even spawns of Satan will, unnaturally, take after their Allfather at first). The infrequent but delightful solos take on a bluesy feel that also fuels the retro road trip. Songs like “Empty Hands” and “Rather Be Dead” are carried by lovely little recurring leads, not quite dipping their toes into melodeath, but they highlight how hooky these tunes are. It also helps that every song has one of those “I need to immediately start a mosh pit” moments. This may be an old style, but Necrot sure do it justice.
That is, of course, one of the issues with the album. While Necrot are surely able to navigate their way around established death metal norms, this isn’t something you haven’t heard before. It’s basically Gatecreeper without the hardcore flourishes, which is to say it’s still pretty fantastic. There’s clearly a certain something to these songs, however, which help elevate them above the myriad OSDM crew. Most likely, it’s because Necrot, while worshiping at the altar of the riff, also understand how to put those riffs in the context of great songs.