Lifeless Birth

rating icon 9 / 10

Track listing:

01. Cut The Cord
02. Lifeless Birth
03. Superior
04. Drill The Skull
05. Winds Of Hell
06. Dead Memories
07. The Curse

One of the most anticipated death metal releases of the year, "Lifeless Birth", is only NECROT's third full-length album. Proof that the cream can rise to the top if circumstances are favorable, the Oakland trio have become one of the genre's most lauded names in recent times, and with good reason. At a time when we can hardly move for top-notch death metal and exciting new bands, the sheer quality of this band's output to date is indisputable. Both 2017's "Blood Offerings" and 2019's "Mortal" were ecstatically received, by critics and fans, and despite sticking with cherishable DIY imprint Tankcrimes, NECROT increasingly look like certified heavyweights with the brutal world at their feet. Five years is a long time to wait for a follow-up, but the buzz surrounding their next move is undeniable and greatly deserved.

If you live, breathe and shit death metal, "Lifeless Birth" is beyond essential. Alongside the likes of TOMB MOLD, UNDEATH and MORTUOUS (with whom NECROT share drummer Chad Galley),  NECROT have struck upon the perfect blend of old-school belligerence and contemporary intensity, and their third album further refines that instinctive formula, marrying it to some of the most explosive and memorable death metal songs in recent memory. It really is that straightforward. NECROT fucking slay, and devotees of this stuff are going to drown in their own froth when this glorious 41-plus minutes of unsavory violence is unleashed. A blizzard of skewed riffs and rampaging muscularity, opener "Cut The Cord" sets out the band's stall in no uncertain terms: admirably filthy but packing a jaw-shattering punch, it takes the riveting squall of the first two albums and condenses everything into five thrilling minutes of deathly timeless and venomous verve. In much the same way that bands like MORBID ANGEL and IMMOLATION swiftly established their own esoteric niches in the death metal firmament, NECROT are so obviously ahead of the game that many will be declaring this a stone-cold classic before the end of the first track. Gloriously, the band's quality control continues to the bitter, bruising end. Brimming with warped and eccentric lyrics ("I forgot to remember when my lobotomy happened…" notes frontman Luca Indrio at the start of the magnificent "Drill The Skull"),every one of these songs is a freshly minted gem.

Fueled by the self-evident chemistry between Indrio, Galley and guitarist Sonny Reinhardt, "Lifeless Birth" exudes the overwhelming, imperious charisma that has long marked out the best that death metal has to offer. While other bands glue riffs together in the idle pursuit of brutality points, songs like "Winds Of Hell" and the title track subvert the usual cliches and audibly revel in the dark art of heavy metal songcraft. Produced to sound like the violent end of all things, every scything riff and change of pace makes perfect sense, while also sounding urgent, focused and strategically designed to wreck necks, while deftly summoning the foul spirit of the ancient DM gods.

There are signs of creative progress here too, of course — "The Curse" is a monumental epic that stretches and molds NECROT's core sound into something darker, scarier and more dramatic — but the real message that comes across, loudly and passionately, is that these three men are operating on a higher level of death metal dexterity, and "Lifeless Birth" is a near-flawless expression of their militant brilliance.

Author: Dom Lawson
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