On 26 acres in San Marcos, Texas sits the Freeman Ranch, supposedly one of only five “body farms” in the U.S. That may sound like a spa resort or fitness camp, but you won’t find any seaweed wraps, jacuzzis or nutritionists on this ranch. What you will find is decomposing corpses, in various degrees of exposure, spread out all across the property. Texas State University uses Freeman Ranch as a forensic science facility where students get to observe and study the decomposition of donated human bodies. It’s a grim place, indeed. Google at your own risk…
It may be a morbid thought, but what if all those bloated bodies baking in the Texas heat could speak to the sights, smells and sounds of their decay, and say, compare them to a death metal record? Odds are, if they were up on the latest releases, they’d point a rigor digit right at Oakland-based Necrot and their aptly named full-length, Blood Offerings.
The LP is technically the band’s first full length. While seemingly cohesive, their first release The Labyrinth was actually a compilation of three demo tapes issued between 2012 and 2014. But no matter how you slice this musical cadaver, Blood Offerings is death metal at its most patient and tenebrous.
As soon as the opening track “The Blade” drops, it’s clear where Necrot is headed. Drummer Chad Gailey fires up the double-kick like a pair of pistons, and bassist Luca Indrio and guitarist Sonny Reinhardt start the buzzsaw. While the power trio build a thick wall of sound, their attack is not overstated.
Necrot doesn’t clutter up their death metal with constant, unrelenting speed, blinding technical ability or brain-twisting time signatures. By not blasting all the time, or writing riffs that only a seasoned headbanger could decipher, Necrot has nowhere to hide. Instead of ripping your guts out and showing them to you, the trio lets their songs churn at an even pace, spreading the punishment out nicely. Subsequent songs like “Shadows And Light” and “Breathing Machine” spotlight this with slow grooves that run into four on the floor rumblings. Tucked in between all the crushing riffs, Reinhardt will drop in a mean, squealing rock ’n’ roll solo now and again. His solo chops give a big nod to the blues scales of Bill Steer from Carcass. They fit well with the death metal barrage, but they are far enough removed to make them stand up in the muck.
Blood Offerings is classic, old-school death metal at its finest. Metaphorically, it’s like putting your ear up to the chest of a rotting corpse and listening to the parasites eat it from the inside out. Necrot has recorded an album so putrescent you can almost smell it.