Necrowretch – Bestial Rites (Century Media)Friday, 1st November 2013
Not willing to rest on their laurels with releasing their full-length debut Putrid Death Sorcery in 2013, Necrowretch has quickly risen from their grave to grace us with Bestial Rites, a compilation of their early demos and EP material from 2009-2012. The problem is that there is just so much formulaic old school death metal worship that one can digest in a year.
Like its cliché-ridden full length before it, Bestial Rites is heaping to the brim with references to the past with nothing particularly memorable to add to it. Necrowretch simply toss Possessed, early Death, Autopsy, and some Grave into a blender and mixes them up into the equivalent of a buzz saw smoothie. The production values here, especially on the earlier tracks, don’t just give the feeling of nostalgia, but they truly sound as if Necrowretch went back in time and recorded these on a cassette tape in their parents’ basement. Admittedly, there could be a hip factor to this, if the remainder of the music weren’t about as interesting as a vanilla sundae with no available toppings. When you also consider a running time of close to 48 minutes, most songs end up in a blur of evil riffs and blasting drums.
It’s not as if there is anything particularly wretched (cliché pun intended) about Bestial Rites so much as its stale and tired nature. Other than the truly evil sounding vocals, nothing really grabs the listener’s attention. With other, more flavorful retro death metal releases available this year (the soon to be released Obliteration as one example), it’s hard to justify holding a space for this one in even the most die-hard death metal fan’s collection.