Band Name: Necrowretch
Origin: Valence, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France
Formed in: 2008
Current Status: Active
Genre: Death/Black Metal
In a world full of savage satanic metal bands, Necrowretch has always been one of my favorites. Surprisingly, I do not see these guys pop up in the metal community that much, and despite being considered a more well-known band in the black and death metal scene, I didn’t see a lot of talk about their upcoming album. Nonetheless, I’ve been following Necrowretch for a while now and when I caught wind of a new album, I quickly wrote down the date and awaited this beast to be unleashed from hell. And frankly, I was not disappointed!
With their third studio album, “Satanic Slavery”, released April 14th, 2017 on Season of Mist Underground Activists, Necrowretch delivers a 38 minute punishing and chaotic assault of pure fucking evil. I was curious to see how they would do on this new album, and was expecting something a little different, however still remaining true to their sound. These guys know what they are doing and they do it well, however within the realm of their music there is definitely some room for experimentation. “Satanic Slavery” gives Necrowretch fans like myself the expected blasphemous, intense evil-sounding black and death metal, however there are some surprises thrown in here and there.
Hailing from France, these guys have been at it since 2008. I first got pulled in while beginning to explore bands which combined the genres of death metal and black metal together, and Necrowretch was one of the first I discovered from this breed. They use influences from bands like Dark Funeral and Katharsis, and satanic death metal acts like Deicide. They know how to blend the two together, and there isn’t any confusion as to what kind of music they are tying to deliver.
“Satanic Slavery” is a lot more black metal focused. Every single song on the album has a lot of tremolo picking, black metal riffs, ferocious blast beats, and raspy, throat scratching vocals which sound like a demon being tortured. On songs like “Hellspawn Pyre” and “Curse of Blasphemy”, the pure black metal element shines through and launches the listener into a terrifying experience. The songs themselves feel as if you are flying over and watching the Fields of Punishment from Greek Mythology; millions of souls being eternally tortured, screaming in agony and ratting your bones with sheer terror.
In other songs such as “Tredeciman Blackfire”, and the title track “Satanic Slavery”, there is some death metal influence thrown in among the chaos. The death metal elements on this album serve as a means of slowing the music down, however do not take away from the overall intensity. The song becomes much more heavy, and is reminiscent of a kind of doom/death sound that fills me with dread I would get from an H.P. Lovecraft story; it sounds absolutely destructive and horrifying. The best example of this would be on the last song “Verses From the Depths”: halfway through, it slows down and becomes a monstrous wave of foreboding horror that is about to crash right on top of you. It sounds just like a very heavy doom metal song, and it is very nice to see Necrowretch implementing doom and death metal in this way for it creates a lot more diversity in the music and makes it much more enjoyable.
I also have to comment of the vocal performance by founding member Vlad. He sounds like a demon; a very pissed off, buff and evil demon at that. It’s as if you took Glen Benton from early Deicide recordings and shot adrenaline right into is neck. He’s been with the band since the beginning, and has not lost any of the passion he had on earlier recordings; he hits it spot on and honestly I could not imagine Necrowretch without him. His style is a very raspy, throaty high-pitched growl, however he can take it up to a higher pitch if he feels like it. On the songs “Treidman Blackfire” and “Evil Names”, he changes it up and uses a sort of pained and angry shout. This doesn’t pop up often, however it really fits the particular segments in which it appears in and Vlad pulls it off rather well.
Now, although the album is great, it does have some negative points. These are honestly minor, however I feel that flaws are just as important to address as strengths. The bass (performed by Kevin D, aka Desecrator) is barely audible. Only about two or three times can you actually hear the bass distinctively throughout the whole album, and it’s a little sad that it gets left out in the mix because the bass could actually provide a lot more heaviness in the death metal and doom metal parts. The music itself does get a little repetitive after about the sixth song, at least for me. I mean I can go for an onslaught of amazing guitar riffs and blast beats just fine, however after half an hour I got a little worn out.
Lyrically each song sounded mature, however I’m a big fan of creativity and trying new things. I like when music feels like it’s exploring a particular emotion, delving deep into a concept or idea, or telling story. This isn’t a requirement for the music to be enjoyable, however if some more thought and creativity was put into the lyrics that would make for a much better album. There are tons of bands which discuss death and Satanism in a very similar way as Necrowretch, and I would prefer a little more expansive thinking in the lyrical content of the songs.
Overall, this a very solid release by Necrowretch and I’m glad they are continuing the way they are with their musical career. I’d reccomend “Satanic Slavery” to anybody looking for some fast, evil shit. 8/10.
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