How real death metal should sound

For all their influence on death metal, Necrophagia is probably still best known for featuring Phil Anselmo as their guitarist for a few years in the 90s, and even then most people knew them just for that reason, without bothering to find out what they actually sounded like.

Twenty eight years into their fragmented career, becoming a household name is probably neither an achieveable nor desired goal, but it is about time that Necrophagia is recognised as the true pioneering act they are.

Killjoy’s raspy shriek was the prototype for a thousand death metal (and black metal) voices and he hasn’t lost his touch nor his love of the macabre. With Deathtrip 69 he has probably made his best album ever. The production in reminiscent of Symphonies-era Carcass and the guitar tone is razor sharp. This is straight-up old school death metal the way only someone who helped invent the form could play it, with clever, deceptive arrangements that only unfold the more you listen to them.

In keeping with previous releases, Necrophagia sprinkle plenty of well-chosen horror film samples throughout, with “Naturan Demonto” opening on a snippet from Evil Dead as the song itself lurches in slowly like some benighted terror. Catchy riffs abound in the likes of “Beast With Feral Claws” and “Suffering Comes in Sixes” and “Tomb With a View” opens with a wonderfully spooky intro that could have been lifted straight off the soundtrack of a 70s Hammer classic.

The genuinely haunting ambient interlude “A Funeral for Solange” breaks the album up nicely, offering a creepy respite before the punkish thrash of “Kyra” – a tribute to Kyra Schon, the little girl zombie in Night of the Living Dead –  featuring a guest appearance by Casey Chaos, and the death metal gallop of “Bleeding Eyes of the Eternally Damned” that ends on some cool double-tracked guitar harmonies. These in turn give way to the heaviest tracks, “Trick ‘R Treat (The Last Halloween)” and “Deathtrip 69” with its Charles Manson sample and storyline. It’s all killer.

Deathtrip 69 shows a real master at work, showing the young guns and their clone army of palm-muted, guitars-as-percussion bands how real death metal should sound.
1. Naturan Demonto
2. Beast With Feral Claws
3. Tomb With a View
4. Suffering Comes in Sixes
5. A Funeral for Solagne
6. Kyra
7. Bleeding Eyes of the Eternally Damned
8. Trick ‘r Treat (The Last Halloween)
9. Deathrip 69
10. Death Valley 69