They like their metal fast 'n hard in Philly and from those streets comes TRENCH ROT, a war-themed thrash act pounding out a brackish sound cultivated from BOLT THROWER, Scandinavian death metal and the old New Renaissance label acts, i.e. WEHRMACHT and ARTILLERY.TRENCH ROT's debut album, "Necronomic Warfare", covers no new turf, which they'd hardly apologize for. Cracking skulls seems to be their only motive, which they achieve okay enough with plenty of choppy velocity and transitional clouting slowdowns to keep things interesting. The album is often messy, starting from a predominantly thin mix that has a tendency to drown out the backing players, depending on who's being featured at a given time. This could be guttural rasping, raucous bass or a broiling guitar solo springing to the fore at the expense of everything else. The guitar solos, traded between Steve Jansson and Brooks Wilson are sometimes knobby and ugly, which befits Jansson's uninhibited yelling and Pabst's chucking bass globs. A lot of "Necronomic Warfare" does click, however, such as the hurried hum of the guitars and bass on the whizzing opener, "Death by Trenchrot". "Necrotic Victory" comes together agreeably as a steady masher while the untiring blitz of "Maddening Aggression" yields some of TRENCH ROT's best results including some wicked soloing. TRENCH ROT goes for broke by pumping as much adrenaline possible into the goring grooves of "The Most Unspeakable of Acts", yet the speed apparently becomes too much, as the beats shank in a couple spots before the song takes a clunky turn later on. In other words, TRENCH ROT tries too hard at times and loses themselves, figuratively and literally. "Mad Dogs of War" hits so many trails the song hits a fork in the road before being rescued by a sharp guitar solo. Thus the glaring issue with "Necronomic Warfare" is it hardly sounds as massive and tight as it should. Ironically, the bonus "Dragged Down to Hell" demo from 2013 yields the better material. The production is still raw, but there's superior rigidity to the concentrated speed of "Gallery of the Dead" and the title cut. "Gallery of the Dead"'s rolled-back finale is likewise meted out succinctly with a crisp guitar solo diminishing through the outro. The mid-tempo crush of "Trapped Under Treads" stomps the snot out of everything within its considerable volume, courtesy of torrential riffing and razing solos. Very telling of where TRENCH ROT is, when their demo tracks supersede the main feature. Everything that TRENCH ROT attempts by merging vintage thrash with contemporary blasting rhythms and death modes on the main program doesn't work anywhere near as effectively as the "Dragged Down to Hell" demo. These dudes can probably blow out the first few rows of the balcony at the Trocodero on Arch Street live, but as it stands, "Necronomic Warfare" could've used some of the same projective mojo.
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