The Labyrinth

RIFYL your demos and your steaks rare

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: April 15th, 2016
Label: Tankcrimes

Bay Area death-dealers Necrot—that’s neck-rot, not necro for those pondering a silent “T”—invoke the true spirit of underground tape-trading. In their five-year career they’ve pounded out three ultra-limited demos exclusively on cassette, released with no more than 333 copies each. That means old-school death metal fans have likely scavenged for Necrot’s tapes in Oakland’s shadiest corners to find a copy worthy of the lone spot left on their shelf of Nihilist demos.

Chronologically compiling the tracks from their three tapes, The Labyrinth presents a band establishing their intent, then harnessing their power faster than you can growl hand-numbered. The first two tracks from their eponymous debut capably nail the Autopsy-worshipping prerequisites with heavy doses of Coffins-crust. But it’s their two following demos that gnaw away at traditional genre trappings and lunge ahead, unrestrained with an even meaner streak. The leap in songwriting lethality’s unsurprising considering the talent involved: Vocalist/bassist Luca Indrio collaborated with drummer Chad Gailey in Vastum before Gailey’s departure, and guitarist Sonny Reinhardt also cranks out groovy riffs in Saviours. 

“Into the Labyrinth,” “Scattered” and “Rebirth in Chaos” all build upon their debut’s strengths—dirty-gutter grooves bookended by punked-out Tampa speed riffs—before ending with their third demo’s gut-punching title track, “The Abyss.” To Necrot, old-school reverence is more than just reimagining Bolt Thrower or Morbid Angel through an HM-2. It’s about purity of intent, and Necrot’s is loud and clear: When you’re lost in the labyrinth, follow the riffs to find your way.

—Sean Frasier
This review taken from the June 2016 issue. For more on Necrot, check out our full-page profile on the band in the May 2016 issue