NECROWRETCH
"Putrid Death Sorcery"

(Century Media)

01. Ripping Souls Of Sinners
02. Purifying Torment
03. Goat-Headed
04. Putrid Death Sorcery
05. Impious Plague In Catacombs
06. Spewed From Hell
07. Defiler Of Sacrality
08. The Anthropomancer
09. Soiled Into A Crypt
10. Necrollections
11. Repugnizer

RATING: 7.5/10

Though God knows the deafening racket emanating from neighboring countries should have been enough to destabilize every cr?me br?l?e and souffl? in sight, but France oddly contributed next to nothing to death metal's first golden era. Heck, with the notable exception of MASSACRA (maybe AGRESSOR, too) the French essentially sat out the style's brisk advance towards global hegemony in the early 1990s, only to play extreme metal catch-up years later on the black metal front, instead.

Oh well, c'est la vie.

But how things have changed, and now, having already produced some of the past decade's most intriguing avant-black metal experiments, the French are apparently ready to make up for lost death metal time if NECROWRETCH's 2013 long form debut, "Putrid Death Sorcery", is any indication.

Rather than try and innovate so long after the fact, however, what we have here is an album rooted firmly in the past: its songs seemingly torn from the inhuman wombs of the Teutonic extreme thrash giants (KREATOR, SODOM, DESTRUCTION), before being twisted and tortured into shape within the dark and musty dungeons of the Swedish death metal scene (NIHILIST, GRAVE, NECROPHOBIC), and then, finally, being roasted like infidel marshmallows at the stake of the founding American death metal masters (AUTOPSY, DEATH, POSSESSED).

In short, pure , vintage death metal of the most impure kind: reveling in horror movie gore and violence, raw production values and dirt-encrusted distortion, putrid ferocity and manic speed-picking, blast-beating velocity (both borrowed from black metal's legacy, obviously), and ultimately beholden to?Satan.

Look not here for overt instrumental technicality nor higher lyrical aspirations, as NECROWRETCH clearly enjoy subverting their evident musical skill to their ascetic aesthetic cause, and the end results comprise remarkably direct, immediate, even infectious tunes like "Purifying Torment", "Impious Plague in Catacombs" and the title track - all of which boast compelling riff and tempo variations, insidiously malevolent melodies, and convincing shrieks that, together, handily fulfill their invasive mission at very first listen.

Yes, originality never enters the equation, but then that's not the point. Like so many retro-minded death metal bands arising in the early '10s, NECROWRETCH clearly seek nothing more than to rescue the style's gloriously inglorious blueprint from the decade-spanning detritus of endless experimentation and mutation.

And, though the second half of "Putrid Death Sorcery" can't quite maintain the first's iron grip on the scruff on one's neck, the album still signifies an impressive international arrival for NECROWRETCH.

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