Necrot, Mortal (Tankcrimes, 2020)

According to some scholars of myth and culture, there was a tradition in the south of Indian where the king of a village would perform a ritual at the end of his reign.

After a 12-year term of luxury and absolute privilege, a scaffold would be raised in the village center. After the king had bathed and prayed, he would ascend to the platform with a knife. He would then stand before his subjects with music in the air and cut off his own nose. Followed by his ears. And then his lips, his eyelids, and as much of his flesh as he could before his resolve was spent and his was body gripped by tremors.

When his blood had run out and his mind became weak and delirious, only then would his throat be cut and his body laid to rest

Imagine this were you. Imagine being butcher by your own hand and then dumped in a hole to be buried and forgotten to make way for the next dumb fool who will take your place. The only thing more terrible then undergoing such a ritual would be surviving it.

Crawling from the grave, coughing clouds of dust out of the opening in your throat and the hole in your face. Slithering out of the dirty where you were laid to stagger back home and resume your former life of indulgence.

Warped by desire and unable to cut oneself loose from their attachments, such a resurrection is an extraordinary act of cowardice which degrades the soul of the returned and humanity at large. A demonstrable undignified model of a loathsome thing's refusal to quit this world. 

Wealth and power and the cancerous passion for these things are corrupting influences on the human psyche. They are sought after as a way of getting out from under one's fears. A way of avoiding the powerlessness that humans with their short lives and limited faculties experience in the face of the infinite. A means of seeking empowerment through avoidance of hard truths and brief material comforts.

There is at least one death metal band who I can think of who is not interested in playing these games, and their name is Necrot. 

Necrot's second LP, Mortal, opens with the track "Your Hell," a lochetic advance of snare-like death-thrash leads, teaming with the acidic patina of Pestilence's swarming sting, where bassist/singer Luca Indrio gnashes at the air lamenting the living hell many make for others for their own libidinal satisfaction and to gratify a thirst for dominance.

The warping effects of desire and the way its manifestation can literally torture others is further explored in thorough detail on the switchblade action swing and punishing punk pillory of "Sinister Will," where the instrumental violence of war sustains a rebuke of ricocheting Bolt Thrower chords and the hot, immolating breath of Grave.

"Malevolent Intentions" sets its aim higher though, lining up a shot with a flaming arrow to be fired through the open window of the ivory tower where the gears of greed, oiled with blood, ceaselessly turn to drink the world dry.

One of the more obvious sonic touchstones in terms of guitar work and atmosphere on Mortal is Morbid Angel, and nowhere is this more transparent than on "Malevolent Intentions" with its fiery grooves that flare like they've been sprits with an industrial chemical and lead work that claws up the furrows of your brain, leaving long deep trenches of woe. 

The Morbid Angel influences on Mortal eventually butt-heads with forces nearly as fierce when bleak, Celtic Frost-esque tremolo picking makes its entry into the album's fray on the soul-sickening "Stench of Decay." It's a murky number, stepped in a steam bath of corpse-goo and bile that gives birth in its latter half to a dark, devil-taming guitar solo, not unlike what you'd hear peeled off on one of Testament's high-flying excursions.

Any departures from the orbit of earthen death metal that may be achieved elsewhere on Mortal has its effects tempered by the mortifying stomp and gluttonous gravitational pull of "Asleep Forever," whose midtempo sections heap on heavy, hollow body guitar lines cut through with thrashing, Obituary reading solos that will prevent your escape from a most assured and terrible flogging.

Photo: Chris Johnston

The cursed patience of "Asleep Forever" is reproduced with a certain tenacity on the closing, and title track, "Mortal," a chilling gaze through a strait of a jagged, palm-muted churn, ferried by Charon's own hand and oar, which upon reaching the distant shore of promised by humankind's ambitions, finds it lacking and worthy of expungement.

A long flight of vanity, ending in vein. A final blow that punctuates the conclusion of all human existence. That attachment to the supposed riches of this world aren't worth the pain that must be paid to keep them tethered to you. 

Projecting one's desires into the world as if you were its master will only make you a magnet for all of the world's most foul things. It is better to live with the knowledge of your limitations, as lamentable as they may be. Peel of the skin ambition that you have shrouded yourself with.

Release yourself from your hateful hunger. Allow your fear of dying to sluff off your shoulders like the stagnant weight that it is and cast it into the abyss. Live freely within the shade of your mortality.

Liberated on the brave and knowing path to death's distant but welcoming embrace.  

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