Necrot Credit: Chris Johnston

This three-man Oakland death-metal powerhouse formed in 2011 and quickly began releasing appetite-whetting demos and singles, but on their debut full-length, 2017’s Blood Offerings, they proved they had the energy for a sustained assault. Though their new second album, Mortal, treads most of the same boards as its predecessor, the band’s fury feels fresh and renewed. Necrot largely built their audience on the concert and festival circuit, where they earned a reputation as a ferocious live act. Touring is off the table for now, of course, so bands are often being judged on the strength of their releases alone—and on Mortal, Necrot’s music fares nearly as well blasted out of home stereos or earbuds as it does through the PA of your local venue. The album’s lean-and-mean running time (under 40 minutes) means that every moment has to count, and you won’t find filler here. Necrot are masters of the riff and groove, and their pace is punishing without being exhausting. The best death metal has versatility and dynamic range, and when that’s missing, the effect can be numbing—either everything matters or nothing does. Necrot sidestep this trap as if it were never there. When they throttle up to full frenzy, like they do with the savage guitar roar of “Before the Creation of Time,” you’ll barely have time to know what hit you. On lighter, hookier songs such as “Sinister Will,” you’ll have an unnerving yet pleasant conversation with a dragon who’s got enough smoke trickling out his nose to remind you that he can crisp you without a thought. Necrot are drawing from a deep toolbox on Mortal, and every razor-sharp turn follows an internal logic that’s exhilarating to hear. When the lengthy title track closes the album with a call for acceptance of death, it arrives almost as a relief from the sheer overwhelming life force Necrot have forced you to match.   v