I jumped on reviewing Putrid Offal‘s debut album, Mature Necropsy, like a retiree on an early bird special when I saw a lineup of three guys that may actually have a few years on me. These French gore hounds formed 25 years ago, split up five later, and dug the carcass up again in 2013. This cleverly named album is comprised of every song they wrote nearly a quarter of a century ago, updated a bit with the chops of veterans and all the beef of a modern recording. Putrid Offal were monsters back in their demo and split days. Now they are a death metal Steve Austin. The Six-Million Dollar Man, not the wrestler, though I suppose that analogy also works in its own way.
Named (presumably) after the one intelligible phrase on all of Carcass‘s mighty Reek of Putrefaction (from the song “Regurgitation of Giblets”), it is no surprise that there is a heavy dose of the UK legends splattered all over Putrid Offal’s sound. While their promo sheet cites “for fans of Early-Carcass, General Surgery, Necrony, Pathologist, Dead, Cock And Ball Torture,” let’s be blunt as a ball peen hammer to the spleen. Without Carcass, it’s highly unlikely any of those other bands would exist. Putrid Offal offer much more than General Surgery did, picking up where Symphonies of Sickness left off, adding in elements of Floridian death metal with a much more hostile and malevolent feel.
There are a few curve balls in their otherwise relentless gore grind. A subtle Gregorian chant comes out of nowhere in “Garrotting Way,” which was also in the original 1991 version, and keyboards make a brief but effective appearance on “From Plasma to Embalming,” but rest assured, nary a moment of this splatter platter approaches the progressive or lofty symphonic heights of, say, [Luca Turilli’s] Rhapsody [of Fire]. Putrid Offal are powerfully pugilistic, pounding the listener to a pulp from the first note to the final. During the breakdown about 40 seconds into “From Plasma…” we get to play “Name The Carcass Tune This Is Lifted From,” and it’s “Ruptured in Purulence,” and so blatant that either it’s a nod of the beret or we’ve got another “Blurred Lines” lawsuit on our hands. Two reviews in a row now that I’ve unwisely risked a firing, this time for mentioning that shitty Robin Thicke song on a metal site, but sometimes you’ve got to hang your balls out there [So said John Bobbitt. – Steel Druhm].
It’s refreshing to hear a death metal album come right out of the gates without a creepy intro to set the tone. “Purulent Cold,” the only song on Mature Necropsy to break the three-minute mark, opens the autopsy with a wall of sound, slow dirgey, riff for three quarters of a minute, then they hit the nitrous button and the frantic bludgeoning begins. Deeply disgusting layered vocals range throughout the album from nearly pitch shifted depths to Jeff Walker screeches and moments approaching Stevo’s (Impetigo) unique ability to make you feel like you’re going to throw up in your mouth a little. The album closes with the best outro ever to be called “Outro.” A brief blood curdling scream right out of “Left Hand Path” leads into the slowest, sludgiest groove on the entire album that seeps out of the speakers like an eldritch, blasphemous ichor, to use some of Poe’s favorite words.
Mature Necropsy is densely produced with a monstrous guitar sound, subsonic distorted bass, and a cavernous vocal recording. No drummer is credited so the safe assumption is the drums are programmed, but they sound organic rather than industrial. Short songs with short breaks between them ala Reign in Blood and a matching length of 29 minutes lends the album a similar level of intensity. Listening to the versions of the original and current recordings back to back, the immensity of their sound now is like a Bald Bull uppercut to the jaw.
Putrid Offal stayed true enough to their classic material that Mature Necropsy never stinks of, say, Manowar crapping all over their discography to make a few more bucks. This update is warranted and a complete and utter success in every way. This triumvirate may be aged veterans, but they don’t just keep up with their contemporaries, they leave many of them in the dust. Fans of old and new death metal alike have another classic on their hands with Mature Necropsy, and with new material in the works, I’m excited to hear what depths Putrid Offal go to from here.