July 9, 2014 | , | 4.25

Trenchrot, Necronomic Warfare

Trenchrot: Necronomic Warfare

The guys in Philadelphia’s Trenchrot may have just come together as a band a couple of years ago, but they play a brand of death metal that not only has an old school vibe, but an energetic fervor that most modern bands lack. Necronomic Warfare is their debut album. And it’s one that you absolutely have to pick up.

Ripping their influences right out of the Bolt Thrower and Obituary playbooks, the music here is raw, bestial and teetering on the edge of going completely unhinged. Thick, burly guitars, sludgy textures, barbaric drums, and sickening, gravelly growls combine for a sound that not only encompasses the throw-back bands we grew up on, but also with an aesthetic that would appease the most discerning of modern death metal fans. Entombed, Dismember and even a little Malevolent Creation all make an appearance — and yet there isn’t any one direct line to any one influence, the sound is wholly Trenchrot’s.

Reading some of the names above may give you the impression that this is a single-minded album with nothing but chugging, buzz saw riffs. You couldn’t be any further from the truth. Yes, those influences thrive within Necronomic Warfare, but this Philly troupe brings in melodies, soul, aggression and more to fill eleven songs worth of memorable death metal.

“Death by Trenchrot” leads in with a bit of a Slayer vibe to the drum work and overall speed, but Bolt Thrower quickly arrive on the scene with slick lead work. The barking vocals are ferocious and fit the music’s old school aesthetic perfectly. It’s a full-throttle song that serves as a near perfect introduction to the band. The outburst at 3:30 makes this song an instant classic. “Gustav Gun” brings in a little Hail of Bullets to the Bolt Thrower party to great effect. “The Most Unspeakable Acts” goes for broke with some insanely ferocious tempos and gets a little loose in the process — sort of like your mom after one too many chardonnays.

I love the churning march to “Mad Dogs of War,” but it’s the solo here that kicks complete ass — although Steve Jansson’s vocal works sounds as though he’s vomiting all over the recording equipment. The one-two punch of “Necrotic Victory” and “Maddening Aggression” make for a hell of a combination. The former churns and burns with slick lead work and some of the best songwriting the band showcases on the album while the latter more than lives up to its name, delivering an unyielding surge of mayhem with no sign of letting up until it’s over.

The last three tracks on Necronomic Warfare are from the band’s Dragged Down to Hell demo and are certainly up to the challenge (if not more so) of matching the ferocity of the newer material. They offer a glimpse of the band’s roots and wrap up one hell of a debut album. Trenchrot have themselves something special here. It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s definitely a strong foundation on which the band can develop and refine their sound.