Necrowretch feature for Iron Fist

The wretched forms of death metal have been yanked from the ground over the last five years by youngsters desperate for the taste of blood and whilst many drag its name through the mud, others keep the primitive roots alive. French duo Necrowretch are one example of this, with frontman/guitarist Vlad picking up a guitar purely because of hearing Death’s ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ and six months later Necrowretch’s first demo was born.

“It was an amazing part of my life when I discovered so many death metal bands and in a certain way ‘Scream Bloody Gore’ was the highlight of this period and today it remains my major death metal influence”, Vlad reminisces. “The unholy alliance between Schuldiner and Reifert is just perfect and it delivers the true essence of death metal: raw, primitive, evil!”


This year’s debut ‘Putrid Death Sorcery’ saw the band beginning to find their own path with a record pummelling you from start to finish through a rabid tempo and savage aggression akin to eighties thrash and death coming to a head with one another. Slowly growing their following after appearances at Copenhagen’s Kill Town Fest in 2010, it was during an album launch for Asphyx that their viscious show caught the attention of Century Media. The record label took the band under their wings like label mates Sonne Adam, another band with a passion for traditional extremity but how does one tell between those who are true and those following the latest trend?


“I don’t really know, as I’m young and wasn’t part of the previous decade of death metal. I started playing music to make something similar to ‘Scream Bloody Gore’, and then the music became more personal and Necrowretch became its own”, explains Vlad. “Unlike our first recordings, I feel that we don’t sound like Autopsy or Nihilist anymore but actually came up with an evil and sick sound of our own that is hard to pigeonhole. I’m sure it’s the same way for a lot of metalheads playing in this “real” death metal vein. Of course there are also a lot of posers only using a HM 2 pedal to have a flat sound and to play the same riffs of Dismember, and I don’t like this kind of “copy paste” death metal.”


One man that refuses to listen to anything other than real metal is of course, Fenriz of Darkthrone. Linked heavily to Live Evil Festival, which will see its third festival causing havoc in London later on in the year, his Band of the Week choices are a strong focus for the line-up, a list Necrowretch were lucky enough to be a part of. The band’s first attack on our shores will be surrounded by the likes of Satan and Midnight to name a few but Vlad, Amphycion (bass) and new drummer Executor plan to step up to the mark.


“Be prepared for something very evil! We’ll play with all our guts and add some bestial touches for this show. The set will include many songs off the album that we never played live before. Be ready for your funeral! It was fucking amazing to be picked as a band of week by Fenriz. It’s a real honour for us to be heard by a metal veteran and to play with the other killer bands.”


Despite growing up in an area desolate to the metal realms, the joys of tape trading for the band and close friends helped Necrowretch witness the underground scene within their homeland. He believes there are plenty of killer bands “but sadly there is not enough support as people here are more into shitty core bands.” When asked who he would choose if he had the opportunity to step into Fenriz’s boots only French acts are listed, including Ritulalization, Affliction Gate and Cadaveric Fumes.


Sticking with the stereotypes of the underground, Necrowretch’s demos and EPs were only available on tape and quickly sold out, however a compilation is soon to be available on CD. In previous interviews, Vlad shared that he felt the past recordings should be left in the shadows of Necrowretch due to their sound evolving so rapidly, however the change of heart means “that for the first time all the recordings between 2009 and 2012 will feature on one disc, which is a great opportunity for people that have discovered us through the album and want to know more about the band and its filthy roots.”


Since ‘Putrid Death Sorcery’ was unleashed at the beginning of this year, Vlad claims the band are more ambitious than ever and that despite it being a huge step, the goal is still the same – “to play our passion for extreme metal.” A year has passed since recording the album for which Vlad, Amphycion and session drummer Mörkk quit their day jobs to concentrate on and Vlad believes they achieved the evil envisaged. “I think some parts could’ve been done better but the goal when we entered the studio was to unleash hell through our music and this was reached as the devil appears in the first seconds of the album.” Despite a clean production, Necrowretch keep the raw formula throughout all their recordings and this could be due to a ridiculously quick turnaround time. The recording process for the EPs took a mere day each whilst the debut was completed in ten days, so how on hell does a band work under such time frames?


“Ten days to record the album was a very long time for us and we even finished the instruments two days before the schedule. When entering the studio we are as possessed as when we are playing live. I can feel a certain darkness embracing me as we’re creating an ugly child. I feel comfortable playing eight hours of guitar non-stop. It’s just a very long trip into the dark. Also the studio was in a basement, so we were totally cut from the world; playing, eating, sleeping and living in this rancid lair for almost two weeks. It added a creepy ambiance to the album that you can feel if you listening carefully with headphones.”


Quite frankly, residing in a tomb has added the exact ambience Vlad speaks off and we can only hope that their second effort, which he promises will be “more bestial than the beast himself”, alongside the compilation ‘Bestial Rites’ resurrecting  proof of the primitive , will be even more of a terror for the masses. With a tour crushing over Europe planned alongside Swe-death slaughterers Morbus Chron and a hint that the band will rear their ugly heads at next year’s Party.San Festival, we can be left foaming at the mouth in anticipation for their possessed arrival. “London will burn… and you’ll die!”

Lily Randall


Published in Iron Fist


Introducing – Bull Riff Stampede

To go from the unsigned New Blood stage to the SOPHIE Stage at Bloodstock within a year is quite the achievement from an independent band, and one that Bull-Riff Stampede are utterly thrilled by. First forming in 2008, the band predominantly from the South West have been had their current format for a mere year and have ticked off so many boxes on a band’s checklist. Their name is fitting, as their death/thrash metal has spread like wild fire and been trampled into the memories of many.

Their debut album ‘Scatter The Ground’ showcases their blend of all things heavy with a hint of traditional worship and despite BRS’ DIY attitude, you would never guess from the quality. “For us it was the most satisfying way to do it [independently]”, guitarist Jay and bassist Rod explain. “It allowed complete control over the tracking, the mixing, the art work and it’s the best we could possibly achieve at the time. We’re extremely proud of it and we just want everybody to hear it.” In the last few months along, they would have certainly covered a lot of ground, with slots at Hammerfest in March, Wacken Open Air and the second stage at Bloodstock recently, which have been the lads’ favourite gigs by far. “These particular festival billings represent to us the culmination and validation of the hard slog over the past couple of years, setting this band up and getting it out there”, they state. Seeing our name listed on those line-ups, on the same festivals as many of the bands we really look up to and know are kick ass live, it puts us in exactly the right place to give the best show we can. This in turn gives us the chance so many others don’t get, to put our music out the real metal heads who know what they do and don’t like.”


Many of their influences played alongside them at Bloodstock, including the likes of Exodus, Slayer and King Diamond and the fact they’re a part of home-grown festival is overwhelming, especially two years running. Despite all this excitement, the band has already completed their second album which Rod and Jay describe as “nasty, gritty and heavy enough to fall from the moon”.  With a tour this May with Beholder, they’ve been able to experiment with the new tracks and all has gone down well, so with the speed there are going at, Bull-Riff Stampede are likely to reach their ambition – “fourth album by 2018 and the Stampede continuing forward.”


Feature by Lily Randall

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In the Spotlight with Cattle Decapitation

Bands will forever tell you that the latest album is their best but it’s rare the metal world will agree. Luckily for Cattle Decapitation, ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ is a monument of death metal mayhem and a far cry from 2009’s ‘The Harvest Floor’. When they’re not terrorising the internet with disgusting videos, they’re on tour doing it in the flesh and despite travelling dramas Lily Randall managed to grab Travis Ryan for a catch up.

1. Your latest album ‘Monolith of Inhumanity’ has been claimed to be your best yet. How have you dealt with your new found limelight?

Travis: Drugs, alcohol, impregnation of fans, cutting, the occasional overdose… No, seriously, it’s been humbling. Fans in the front rows actually know the lyrics to the songs and “sing along”, which to me is a bizarre concept for a band like us. We’re also pretty stoked that the shit stuck and we weren’t left with an album everyone hated. It was kind of a stretch to get out that far on a limb – we generally make music we want to hear with little consideration for what others might think, so we kind of lucked out that most people liked the new stuff. It could have gone either way, we didn’t know which, so I’m glad the cards fell in our favour.

2. You said previously that the writing process was more rushed than you had hoped. Looking back now, would you have still done it differently despite its success?

Travis: Funny thing is, we had more time to write this one than usual. We took a year off to do it and thought we were gonna have this album finished in six months with another six to hone it down but no. We worked straight that whole time on it. Conflicting work schedules was what made it such a pain in the ass but we made it work.

3. Cattle Decapitation have always been known for their opinions regarding politics, especially animal rights. Have your opinions ever affected how you are treated as a band?

Travis: Well, maybe. I’m sure it turns a lot of fans off. If they only knew us, haha! They’d find we have much more in common with them than they think. The vegetarian/vegan angle probably turns a lot of people off because their judgements are based on how they’ve seen other vegans and vegetarians act in the past regarding their life choice and we just aren’t like that and never have been. I’m vegan, Josh is vegetarian and the other two dudes do what they want. I write the lyrics so I know where I’m coming from. It turned out to be impossible to maintain an all vegetarian band and still get the musicianship we wanted. It was never a criteria. So to answer your question, not really. People make their jokes once in a while and it’s all very old hat now, but I mostly hear people giving us props for having the standpoint the lyrics do and for having the balls to present that in the death metal arena. It all makes perfect sense when you look into it.
4. What are your current pet peeves regarding the world right now? Go on, rant to us!

Travis: Ugh, I’m sick of ranting. Plastic. Plastic really pisses me off. But that’s boring I’m sure. I don’t know, I’ve been ranting all day on stupid ass Facebook so I’m kind of ranted out right now. Meme-based societies are pissing me off, how’s that?
5. What’s life on the road like with Cattle Decapitation?

Travis: Same as any other band. Mild drama, wondering where to eat CONSTANTLY, LOTS of farts, lots of jokes and lots of fart jokes. Same old shit.

6. Where does your lyric inspiration tend to come from?

Travis: Every day bullshit. People. People sucking. Depression. Anxiety. ADHD with mild bipolar disorder perhaps? The news. That kinda thing.

7. Are you like many death metal bands that live for gory horror films?

Travis: Nah. Traces of Death and the internet killed all that for me, the former being when I was young. I’ve always been more into realism, reality based stuff, documentaries etc. Never was much into many cartoons when I was a kid, so I’m not too fond of animation. I like the old horror movies if anything but just for a chuckle. Hellraiser 2 was the shit.
8. When you Google the ‘Forced Gender’ video, the top searches include “bloody disgusting”, “NSFW” and “banned”. I’m guessing this is the response you were after?

Travis: I just wanted to bum some motherfuckers out. It definitely worked. I wanted people to see it and say to themselves, “well, that’s not OK at all”. I wanted people to have to step back and re-evaluate where they are in life, what they have and what matters most in this world to them. “NSFW” was the tag that put on it which means “not safe for work”. It definitely is something that violates all public video sites’ agreements and even the agreements with the hosting company that hosts our website or else we’d just take it. Quite honestly, it’s funny people were so freaked out about the video – all the video is are the lyrics put into play on the screen and acted out. That’s all. And it’s not much different than any of our other songs! It takes doing all that to get people to understand what we’re saying? Sad.

9. The ideas didn’t come from personal fetishes did they?!

Travis: No, I personally think all that stuff is for show. At least people that go around promoting the fact that they love fetishes and all that. Fetishes to me are a very personal thing and people that exploit that all openly are fucking posers.

10. If you were to do any cover at a live show, what would it be?

Travis: I’ve always wanted to do Rigor Mortis’ “Foaming at the Mouth” but also think it’d be hilarious to do Tourniquet’s “Ark of Suffering”. Hilarious, because it’s a Christian band and I have a knack for being able to separate a bands ideology from the actual music and enjoy the music, plus it’s a bad ass song with a great message. I can’t believe I’m saying that about a Christian band but it’s a song against vivisection and using animals to test cosmetics.
11. What’s next for Cattle Decapitation?

Travis: A one-off HUGE festival in Guadalajara, Mexico and then Australia in June as well as the massive Summer Slaughter Tour in the States in July/August.
12. With festival season upon on us, who would be your chosen 3 headliners, dead or alive?

Travis: Carcass, Coroner and Bethlehem.

Interview by Lily Randall

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Introducing Desolator

The neo-thrash trend fronted by the likes of Municipal Waste and Havok may still be booming but there are still many clinging on to the roots of the genre and resurrecting it with equally ancient, scuffed up hi-tops. Cue Southampton based Desolator, who despite only starting two years ago have made quite a name for themselves. The trio made up of Jamie Brooks (vocals/guitar), Felix Dock (bass) and Sam Talbot (drums) love playing fast and Brooks sums it up perfectly. “Speed thrash ‘n’ roll! Thrash for us should be unhinged and fun, stripped down with every instrument being pushed to excite.”

Desolator’s consistent desire to party has done them favours, with a constant flow of gigs opening up around the country, especially thrash all dayers gathering a mental mass of followers. Their first gig was at one of these back in 2011 and despite only having two songs written, the band were invited eager ears. “We couldn’t believe our luck, it was an unbelievable way to start”, recalls Jamie. From then there have been support slots with the likes of Cannibis Corpse, DRI and Sacred Reich, giving the three piece more opportunities to showcase their energetically manic live shows. “Our recent show in Belgium at Thrash Till Deaf was definitely one of the best gigs we’ve been a part of. First time overseas for us, great old school line up & as much beer as we could physically drink!”

On the talks of beer, it’s clear Desolator worship the stuff, with lyrical themes akin to Tankard and the ferocity of Kreator or Whiplash. When asked if the band could survive without the liquid gold, we were left with a perfect lyrical answer – “Our currency is beer, our bank is the bar, Stay out of our way, you fucking rockstar, Alcoholic assault, none of your H2O, Staying sober? We say NO!”

Introducing Reptilian Death

The resurrection of Reptilian Death has been a long time coming but founder Demonstealer (Sahil Makhija) has finally grabbed it by its horns and completed the new album. With a few EPs and sporadic live shows from as far back as 2000, Reptilian Death’s old-school death metal attack seems to have finally found its desired, live form with Sahil on drums and Vinay Venkatesh (vocals) leading the way as the songwriters. What started as a death metal parody by Demonstealer alongside his other project Demonic Resurrection (who played Bloodstock last year), has turned into a more serious affair, with influences taken from the likes of Deicide, Immolation and Behemoth. “The new stuff is much deeper, darker and not your average death metal lyrics”, The Demonstealer explains. “The entire album is a story and a sequence of events so I’ll leave it to the listeners to check out the album when it releases and read through the lyrics to get a better understanding.”

With three projects to organise, as well as a record label, Sahil believes that the Indian metal scene is thriving. “The scene here at the moment is seeing huge growth with bands and music releases but we’re struggling a bit with touring and the logistics behind it. We Indian’s love Facebook so the social media space has completely exploded with fan interaction and we’ve got a whole lot of ‘online genre wars’ happening off late. It’s an interesting time to be an Indian band.” The hooded menaces unleash their second full length in May and with a promise of brutality and old school groove, Reptilian Death are bound to be slithering under your nose before you know it.

By Lily Randall

To be published in Iron Fist #5

Death: A Self Portrait – art exhibition review

Whether society like it or not, metal and its extreme sub genres is an art, and regardless of the often drunken and less cultured façade many of us may deploy, the thought of walking round an art gallery can still excite us when the word “death” is murmured. As we all know death is inevitable both in life and especially in metal be it through band names, lyrics and artwork. Cannibal Corpse’s albums became iconic thanks to Vincent Locke’s portrayal of guts and gore and it’s near impossible to find a band that hasn’t used some form of skull or skeleton on a shirt. As you enter the Wellcome Exhibition Centre, there is nothing particularly morbid about it, until you see the metamorphic skulls printed on the large posters leading the way.

The exhibit is separated into different themes by its creator Richard Harris, who has collected paintings, prints and photos based around the concept of death and starts with the ‘Contemplating Death’ room, which starts you off at the deep end of the morbid and macabre scale throughout centuries of creativity. As you walk through, trying to take in every emotion that comes from the eerie atmosphere, it’s hard not to decipher in your head which of these pieces would make a great album cover – there’s the war art that screams Sodom, the cliché grim reaper holds his stance for the black metal and some artists who have taken on a lighter approach to death seem fitting for any death metal band willing to irritate worried parents.

Thanks to death’s existence being the same as the human race, the historical artifacts are enlightening such as 18th century Tibetan dancing skeletons and each culture fears or befriends the brutal reality of mortality in such different ways that you find yourself reading as much of the tiny annotations as possible.

The larger pieces such as a stunning chandelier made from 3,000 plaster cast bones hangs with elegance, whilst the Argentinian plasticine sculpture named Calavera (which we obviously misread as Cavalera) showcases how the politics and technology of today often overshadows the fear and seriousness of death, through an eye-catching 3D skull structure.

The final room is probably the most shocking due to the lack of stereotypical doom found in grinning skulls and instead shows the more modern perspective through science. All of a sudden common illnesses, modern warfare and natural disasters are captured in a sense our generation can relate to and abruptly the cool factor of the Day of the Dead sugar skulls is lost and grim reality is brought back to where it should be.

Review by Lily Randall

Published over at for their Culture Shock section

25 years of Cannibal Corpse – Artwork Mutilated

This piece was integrated with some information about each album musically, by fellow writer Michael Wilson, for

Thanks to a collaboration with artist Vince Locke throughout their 25 years of terrorizing parents, Cannibal Corpse have created a collection of artwork that never fails to cause controversy but as Corpsegrinder himself explains; “It’s art, just look at it as art. Yeah, it’s disgusting…but go to the Vatican and look at some of the art there. That’s real, that’s representing something that’s real, that could happen. This [artwork], you know, that’s never going to happen…monsters aren’t going to rip out of people’s bodies anytime soon.” Well, we hope not George.

Eaten Back To Life (1990): The Corpse’s logo was much bloodier back in the nineties and this array of red on the album cover compliments it wonderfully. A wretched zombie storms through a graveyard, half eaten, yet with jeans still intact, leaving fellow corpses in his path, beheaded, legless and so on. A plain black cover with just white font was also released and it became routine for CC to release both censored and uncensored versions.

Butchered at Birth (1991): Probably one of the favourites for kids in search of a truly horrifying t-shirt, ‘Butchered at Birth’ does what it says on the tin. Displaying two putrid living dead types clad in aprons dissecting a dead woman, the baby corpses hang in an organised fashion, despite such psychotic scenes. And obviously there is blood, lots of it. The uncensored version once again displays merely the band name and album title, leaving the aural expectations purely to the imagination.

Tomb of the Mutilated (1992): Not wanting to ruin the continuation of the artwork, the band kept on Vincent Locke for his morbid masterpieces and was kept busy thanks to regular albums being pumped out. This piece incorporates less red (obviously there is still some blood) and goes for a bluer complexion, like the poor lady corpse’s body. She doesn’t appear to be enjoying the cunnalingus that is being performed on her by yet another flesh rotten fellow in the classy location of, you guessed it, a graveyard. The censored versions start to allow the horror to seep through onto the shelves, with a simplistic dark corpse stood awkwardly in amongst other deadly beings.

The Bleeding (1994): The characters portrayed for ‘The Bleeding’ are slightly less dead-looking compared to previous sleeve art, however there is still plenty of suffering displayed in their faces, as they are crushed together, entwined in veins and pain. The censored version shows a tight crop of one of the figures’ bleeding chest, which becomes a common ploy to avoid the censorship issues, without losing gore.

Vile (1996): The mid-nineties saw a more simplistic look for Cannibal Corpse without losing the sinister feeling. This time round we have a more cartoon style zombie as the subject in a flattering green colour, up against a simple dark background, unlike previous pieces that have so much going on in one image. Blood is replaced with some juicy maggots for this poor fella who has nothing past his midriff expect a shrivelled up dick. Clearly maggots don’t like penis. This was also the first album to see a slightly more refined band logo, like the one we know and love today.

Gallery of Suicide (1998): The artwork appears to be getting slightly less mindless horror and a bit more meaning with a public alleyway portraying a few members of society who have committed suicide. A man sits quite politely with his head blown by a gun, another swings peacefully from a noose and a naked redhead guts herself up with a few intestines poking out. Raunchy.

Bloodthirst (1999): Who were we kidding?! Of course the mindless guts and gore hasn’t become too immature for Corpsegrinder and co! A bizarre winged demon has ripped a human to shreds whilst appearing to have another mortal embedded in his skin like a mucked-up Siamese twin. The censored version seems more of an alternate cover than a more sensible one, with an equally strange looking creature clasping a knife on a pile of bones.

Gore-obsessed (2002): Those damn zombies are back in business after the millennium and they seem to be on a riot for food. The hodes of chaos are coming and you can’t just run, as they emerge from the ground as well with their stereotypically green and grubby mitts. Proof that after eight albums, the death metallers are still as gore-obsessed as ever.

Worm Infested (2003): The ghastly green is back to stand out on the shelves for ‘Worm Infested’, but I’m sure the solemn woman who appears to be inside a toothed vagina is another to catch your eye. She sits there with a cliché nipple piercing, surrounded by worms coming out of her womb. The un-phased expression on her face is probably more unnerving than if she was in pain, how is she so chilled out?

The Wretched Spawn (2004): If you weren’t already put off by the thought of child birth, you’re sure to have nightmares after the portrayal of ‘The Wretched Spawn’. If you’re midwife has a demonic face and blackened wings, its more than likely you’ll give birth to a monster through your mouth, your vagina and in Alien-style bursting from your chest. Simultaneously. Pass us the anaesthetic.

Kill (2006): It would appear that as Cannibal Corpse began to run out of witty album titles, so did Vincent Locke in turns of art. Then again, the word “KILL” printed in huge writing and wrapped in a bloody outline is probably self-explanatory enough for a death metal album. The choice of typography could probably have paid to be a bit more gory but maybe we’re just being greedy.

Evisceration Plague (2009): Deemed one of their weaker albums, the cover sleeve doesn’t do much to pull back points either, with a very standard black background, long-haired zombie ensemble. If this had been the first piece of art we had seen in the discography, it would probably be brutal enough however it feels as though we are becoming desensitized as the band go on.

Torture (2012): Wait, we’re sorry, we take the last comment back! For we do not wish to end up like the sacrificed souls on the ‘Torture’ artwork. In a similar vein to the ‘Butchered at Birth’ cover, hanging corpses, sliced and stitched hang across the top half of the print, whilst a masked, jean wearing  smiles sinisterly underneath, knife in hand. Luckily the music went back to its old school ways slightly too, so faith was restored in the deadly life of Cannibal Corpse!


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