Anytime you read the words “old school” in an album review you tend to get an involuntary grimace and a twitch in your eye. But once in a while you can use that term and feel good about it. You can wave that banner much as the cover character does on Trenchrot‘s inaugural feast of obliterating death metal, "Necronomic Warfare". This bludgeoning debut was released on February 18 through Unspeakable Axe Records.
Trenchrot was founded in 2012, ex-Crypt Sermon members Steve Jannson (guitar, vocals) and Brooks Wilson (guitar), along with the devastating rhythm section of Steve Geptik (bass) and Justin Bean (drums).
These Philadelphia-based bastards of throwback Swedish death mix in just the right amount of thrash mayhem to rattle your marrow. “Necronomic Warfare” makes for an imposing debut album. Throughout the record listeners are going to find recall moments for bands like Pestilence, Asphyx, Obituary. Bolt Thrower. and even a little Possessed. The album is ripe with meaty mosh riffs and tasty solos. Jansson’s vocal attack falls somewhere between John Tardy (Obituary) and Martin van Drunen (Pestilence, Asphyx, Hail of Bullets).
The opening track, “Death by Trenchrot”, slices in and disembowels before you feel the sting. Songs like “Gustav Gun” and the title track reign mid-tempo sonic savagery, while “The Most Unspeakable of Acts” and “Maddening Aggression” are blistering bloodletters. The wailing fretwork on “Necrotic Victory” make your fingers itch to play air guitar, but you know you’re simply not worthy yet.
The album closes out with the three tracks from last year’s highly impressive demo “Dragged Down to Hell”, which is a nice addition to the record.
"Necronomic Warfare" could very well have been pulled from a time capsule back into sunlight a quarter century later. The production is solid but still dirty and raw enough to fit the harsh feel of the music. Trenchrot delivers on the promise of its demo with an album packed with merciless death metal aggression, bloodthirsty riffage and pulverizing blast beats and stick work. Amercian death metal lives on. Wave the flag!