Necrot - The LabyrinthMy younger brother, normally an upstanding man of good taste, introduced me to the utter barbarity of banana bread beer and then said it was delicious. Besides the specious justification of the yeast connection1, I have no idea why such a thing exists or what horrid part of the human consciousness that so horrified H.P. Lovecraft was tapped into to conceive of it. I’m not yet olde enough to do the “I remember when…” thing convincingly but nonetheless I indulge in nostalgia for the recent past rather often these days. I remember when beer was beer, I remember when we didn’t have to pretend Morbid Angel’s discography concluded with Heretic, and I remember when multiplayer simply required one game, one couch, 2-4 controllers and 1-3 friends in the same room; in a word, I remember a simpler time. American death dealers Necrot remember when death metal was just death metal, and The Labyrinth is their testament to that seemingly distant memory.

Clearly influenced by Chumbawamba, Necrot sings songs that remind us of the good times, and songs that remind us of the better times. This is death metal of the old school persuasion, and chances are that brings to mind Incantation and/or something to do with Leprosy, which isn’t too far off the mark. The Labyrinth aims for a simplified Incantation sound, not unlike early Convulse and Rottrevore. Their modification to this idea is to further drag it down into the gutter like Vastum (with whom they share a member), meaning that the chug-heavy style of riffing known to fans of Asphyx, Benediction, and Obituary is well represented here. The Labyrinth possesses nowhere near the amount of detail and complexity of Onward to Golgotha and instead decides to keep things simple. Necrot’s sound is a constant bludgeoning, faster and more complex than Coffins but hugely similar in straightforwardly punishing spirit.

Necrot’s success seems to be a product of experience. They don’t take their eye off their defined stylistic ball and more often than not keep their songs from running too long. This adds a type of uniformity that makes elaborating on the pros and cons of The Labyrinth little more than an exercise in riff comparison, both within the confines of its own thirty-three minutes and within the larger context provided by their influences. For instance, fans of Undergang’s filthy riffing will be pleased with “The End” and its violent, chugging style. Those looking for something more involved ought to look into “The Abyss” and let it look into them, with its noticeable Funebrarum vibe and a rare glimpse of incredibly simplistic melody that adds a bit of interest to its conclusion. “Scattered” is another interesting tune, bringing a hint of Swe-death and Blood Red Throne’s Come Death into the mix to successfully spice up the formula in a minor way.

Necrot 2016

If you catch an epistemologist in a moment where they’re not feverishly contemplating whether or not they have hands, they would likely tell you that success is a shifty term. So while Necrot succeeds at making filthy old style death metal stylistically, they’re light on the substance. “Into the Labyrinth” tries to merge Incantation with death-thrash, but by being unremarkable at both styles just makes the song aural wallpaper. “Cycles of Pain” sounds like something Undergang left on the cutting room floor from their last record, and provides us with no reason to listen to it more than once. “Consume Control” sounds like a bunch of faster riffs that didn’t make the Patricidal Lust cut sewn together into a song that just flounders about, seemingly unaware of its own mediocrity.

Going back to Chumbawamba, The Labyrinth reminds me of a good time. It brings me back to when I bought my first death metal disc, a Nuclear Blast compilation called Death…Is Just the Beginning Vol. 2 at a used shop for $3 when I was 13. I put it on my small portable stereo and let the filth waft through the air, not sure what to think at the time but being completely taken in by what I heard. Like any compilation, there were unremarkable tunes that fit perfectly with the others, weren’t offensive, but ultimately were just lesser examples of death metal. Such is the case with Necrot. They’ve got the form down pat, but the matter pales in comparison to a band like Vastum, who pales in comparison to Funebrarum, who pales in comparison to Disma and Imprecation, and so on; you get the point. The Labyrinth is aggressively adequate, and will satisfy those just looking for some simple death metal. This is fine, but I find such a level of quality hard to actually care about and even harder to earnestly recommend.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Tankcrimes Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 15th, 2016

Show 1 footnote

  1. Which has been used to achieve outright nefarious ends, which you can search for at your own leisure and peril.
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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    If someone writes a “Yer Metal is Olde…” on Chumbawamba, I will start using the Flattr button on an occasional basis.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      If someone writes a “Yer Metal is Olde…” on Chumbawamba, I will start using the Flattener button inmediately… ;)

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I have never listenend to Funebrarum and it’s the first time I have ever seen Funebrarum regarded above Vastum. Since Vastum’s last two albums have been very well received, I think it’s time for me to check Funebrarum out.

    • Tom Hardy

      Funebrarum’s Beneath and The Sleep Of Morbid Dreams only, don’t listen to the new Funebrarum cos it’s shit. And thos two albums are far better than Vastum.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Like Tom said below Sleep of Morbid Dreams is great, if you can find that to stream it’s definitely worth it. It’s got better riffs, better vocals, and more interesting arrangements than Vastum I’ve found. Not that there’s anything wrong with Vastum though, they’re alright.

  • Todd Bissell

    “I remember when beer was beer,” LOL, no you really don’t. If you picked up an used copy of “Death…Is Just the Beginning Vol. 2” when you were 13, that means you are no older than your mid-30’s — and probably a bit younger than that, I’d bet. And that means there was never a time that you didn’t have a multitude of beer choices, of all colors and flavors, to include flavorless schwill.

    I also detest the Banana Bread Beer. But I can also remember when the *only* choice for beer was either Bud or Bud Light. That was the true reality of back “when beer was beer”. Therefore I’m fine now with having the choice to taste or be repulsed by a variety.

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      The novelty beer thing didn’t really catch on in Ontario (my home province) until a couple years ago, so I wasn’t really aware that such things existed until quite recently; that was more the point I was going for. There’s even root beer flavoured beer now as well, believe it or not.

      • Thatguy

        I like it that, like music, there is too much beer for me taste everything.

        But I can try.

      • Iain Gleasure

        We’re making up for it now though.
        Who cannot love Flying Monkeys “Hoptical Illusion”?

        In honour of good beer though, who’s had Maiden’s Trooper? It seems pretty good to me.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          The craft brewery boom is awesome. Hoptical Illusion is great, and La Fin Du Monde remains one of the best Belgian style beers I’ve ever had, and I’ve made a concentrated effort to just keep trying random beers in Belgium.

          • Iain Gleasure

            I have to be real, how great would a folk metal album about all the legends and history that goes into Unibroue beers be? That metal would be so good!

          • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

            It would have to be made consuming a lot of their beers. On an unrelated note, might be looking into starting a folk metal band…

      • The Calgary Nerd

        Wait Diabolus in Muzaka is Canadian? And we don’t even have novelty beers out in Alberta or if we do I’ve never seen one.

        • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

          Yep, born and raised! You guys have Alberta beef though…we need a trade agreement. We’ll send our best and strangest beer, you send fresh and delicious beef, and that way our two provinces can be happy and enjoy delicious steaks and beer like it was always meant to be.

          • The Calgary Nerd

            Done Deal!

      • basenjibrian

        Beer flavored root beer is better!

    • [not a Dr]

      If your only choices were Bud and Bud Light, you are remembering the times when beer wasn’t beer.

  • Anon.

    I disagree. I think this record is one of the better old-school DM offerings of the decade. Gave me that same shot of adrenaline that the early classics did. I much prefer Necrot over Undergang, Disma and Vastum.

  • Bloated Goat

    I love banana bread ale.