2017 was a great year for all old school breathers like me. Every week there was at least one release coming out. At the end of 2016 it was already pretty clear 2017 would be an awesome year for death and extreme metal, so I was smart enough to keep a list during the year. I still struggle with numbering them, but I tried based on which releases surprised me most and which ones I listened to frequently. I’m glad so many great records came out, since that also means many of these bands will be touring Europe this year. It was a year of discussions, like if a band could still release a self-titled album after existing for more than 30 years or not, but also about Old School Death Metal (OSDM) bands using modern artwork etc. It seemed like only one thing didn’t need to be argued on, it was a very exciting year. I’d like to count down to my review of the number one record of the year.
1. Necrot – Blood Offerings
Necrot is a 3-piece band from Oakland, California. During 2017, they received a lot of well-deserved praise for their debut album, Blood Offerings. Before the album, they released three punk influenced demos, which were eventually released as a compilation. With Blood Offerings they evolved into full-fledged OSDM.
Blood Offerings consists of all ingredients that make a perfect contemporary OSDM release. The opening track, The Blade, might be my favorite. It makes you want to rip your brains out and go insane, like a good death metal track should. Guitarist Sonny Reinhardt immediately gets the groove going. The riffs are extremely catchy and his solos will definitely catch your attention. Then there’s Chad Gailey blasting, hammering and grooving his way through it, contributing enormously to the energetic whole. The lyrics are filthy and bloodthirsty (I mean, just look at the title) and Luca Indrio tops it off with his throat-shredding vocals. I’d say the whole record totally grabs you. While some like to compare it to Bolt Thrower‘s Realm Of Chaos, I’d rather say they created their own sound based on influences going from Morbid Angel to Judas Priest.
The album was recorded at Greg Wilkinson‘s Earhammer Studios in Oakland. He also recorded the last Autopsy EP, which became number 45 on this list. The production of Blood Offerings is flawless.
The artwork (also used as gatefold), done by Marald Van Haasteren, is just brilliant. A bunch of skeletons offering babies to their leader, surrounded by flowing blood. Could it fit the record any better?
Next to that the destructive and talented trio seems to be the future of Bay Area Death Metal. Their drummer, Chad Gailey, delivers the blast beats for the bands Mortuous and Atrament. He also used to be a member of Rude, with which he released the album Remnants… last year (number 11 on this list). I already had a preview on the new Mortuous and I can tell you I’m already pretty sure the album will end up in my top 10 of this year! I can assure you, it’s definitely a release to look forward to. Vocalist and bassist, Luca Indrio, makes also part of the bands Acephalix and Vastum. Acephalix released their full-length Decreation last year, but sadly enough I only found out when I already made this list. Sonny Reinhardt plays guitar in the heavy metal band Saviours and death metal band Scolex (live).
Blood Offerings became an essential death metal album last year. If you’re not familiar with contemporary death metal, this is definitely one of the albums I’d recommend. It’s furious, fast and aggressive. It’s also packed full of killer songs like Empty Hands, Blood Offerings and The Blade. I strongly believe these guys aren’t at their peak of creativity yet, so I’m very excited for what’s coming next from Necrot and all their other projects.
The album was released by Tankcrimes Records and is still for sale on vinyl and CD. Unfortunately the tape variant seems to be sold out everywhere already.
Note: Next week my interview with Chad Gailey will be published. Make sure to keep an eye out!