I first became curious about Necrowretch (from Valence, France) in February 2012 when I saw that they had been signed by Century Media based solely on two demos (in 2009 and 2010) and a four-song EP in 2011 — Putrefactive Infestation. I tracked down and listened to that EP and reviewed it here.
At the time of that review, there were plans for the Belgian label Detest Records to release a 7″ NecroWretch EP titled Now You’re In Hell before the band turned to recording their debut album for Century Media. That release did happen last spring, though I overlooked it until recently.
The 7″ release includes two songs — an original Necrowretch number called “From A Hideous Summoning” and a cover of Death’s “Zombie Ritual” from Scream Bloody Gore (1987), which Necrowretch recorded on the 10th anniversary of Chuck Schuldiner’s death. Yesterday, Necrowretch uploaded the original track to YouTube, with the video providing a detailed survey of the beautifully beastly cover art provided by Montenegrin artist Milovan Novakovic.
“From A Hideous Summoning” channels the putrid, maggot-ridden aura of seminal bands such as Dismember and Scream Bloody Gore-era Death, with a heavy, grinding guitar sound — not as distorted as the tone on albums such as Like An Ever Flowing Stream, but plenty filthy nonetheless. The drumming, which I gather from interviews was performed by a session drummer following the late 2011 departure of the band’s original hitter, is prominent and creative.
But apart from the authentic late 80’s/early 90’s death-metal feel of the music, what really sets the song apart (and this applies to everything Necrowretch have done to date) are Vlad’s vocals. Perhaps more akin to black metal than death metal, they’re vomited forth in a hair-raising, corrosive shriek, with enough delay effect in the recording to give them a slight echoing quality. Vlad has stated in interviews that his vocals were inspired by Robert Sennebäck on the Dismember and Unleashed demos, but if anything, there’s even more sulfuric acid in his sound. It’s riveting to hear his abominable proclamations.
“Zombie Ritual” is faithful to the original, though it sounds like Necrowretch may have recorded it in a slightly lower key and with less reverb, and Vlad’s vocal quality (as described above) is more caustic than Chuck’s. It’s probably impossible to improve on the original of this classic song, but Necrowretch do it justice, while putting their own stamp on the sound.
Now You’re In Hell is still available on vinyl from Detest Records (here) or, in the U.S., from Dark Descent (here). I’m not aware of any plans for a digital release. Here are web links for Necrowretch, plus links to the two interviews I read in preparing to write this review:
According to the Necrowretch Facebook page, the band have finished recording their debut album. Hopefully, we’ll get a taste of that soon. Here’s “From A Hideous Summoning”: