Stolen from the world at the cruel age of 51, Frank "Killjoy" Pucci was a legend. NECROPHAGIA seldom received the credit they deserved during their founder and frontman's lifetime, but old-school death metal diehards will be well aware of the band's pioneering contribution to the scene. And while there is little joy to be had in acknowledging the passing of a unique maverick talent, "Here Lies NECROPHAGIA" does a superb job of bringing together the very best of their sporadic but uniformly great catalogue of blood-spattered releases, from the primitive clattering of those early efforts, right through to 2014's "White Worm Cathedral", NECROPHAGIA's utterly crushing and definitive statement.
The key to NECROPHAGIA's enduring brilliance lay almost entirely in the Killjoy's myopic vision of what should happen when horror and metal collide. Theirs was never a slick or precise approach to brutality: instead, NECROPHAGIA were a band powered by the sickest of chainsaw riffs, the most inhuman and disturbing vocals and an absolute devotion to horror, both real and imagined. Even as a snotty teenager, Killjoy knew how to kick over a few sonic gravestones: listen to "Chainsaw Lust" or "Insane For Blood" and revel in the chaos and primitive intensity of it all. Then, of course, there was the unexpected rebirth in the '90s, co-authored by PHILLIP ANSELMO and leading to 1998's gloriously gruesome "Holocausto de la Morte", again, revisiting the likes of that album's "Embalmed Yet I Breathe" and "Burning Moon Sickness" confirms that NECROPHAGIA never sounded remotely like anyone else and always conjured that same, riff-driven sense of terror. Twenty-first century incarnations of the band took things even further, embracing a degree of sonic modernity along the way, but always seeking the next way to make metal scared shitless again. Later-era fare like "London (13 Demon Street)" , "Beast With Feral Claws" and "Fear The Priest" represented a shrewd upgrade for his original blueprint, in terms of production and songcraft, but the bigger and more monstrous NECROPHAGIA sounded, the more absurdly thrilling their music became.
An irreplaceable one-off in a world of wannabes and time wasters: here lies Frank "Killjoy" Pucci, NECROPHAGIA legend and the ultimate horror metal maven. This is some of the greatest music you'll ever hear. Be afraid.