Italian death metal comes without any true expectations of style, at least not on the level of Swedish or even French scenes over the last several decades. There is little unity between early releases from Horrid, Electrocution and Sadist to name just a few and most any notable band took obvious influence from Scandinavian and North American standouts. Of course there were a handful of originals and few more classic than the works of Mortuary Drape, a project I’d describe as first wave black metal influenced death/thrash early on but their sound remains ever-changing and by 2001 the project was restaffed following ‘Tolling 13 Knell’, an average record by most standards. For most of these young upstarts it was their first opportunity to work with a notable band and I’d say the results and situation could be likened with Varathron‘s reset on ‘Crowsreign’, that is to say that ‘Buried in Time’ was a drag in 2004. Having honed skills in Mortuary Drape and tried their hands in various other Italian death metal bands (Fornace, Voids of Vomit, Septycal Gorge) at some point the pure and focused death metal focus of Eroded coalesced into its worthy existence.
‘Necropath’ strikes upon a mix of influences so specifically that it seems Eroded have inadvertently stumbled upon a formula for the sort of riff-driven death metal that makes bands like Mercyless such a success. None of this was entirely clear on their debut full-length ‘Engravings of a Gruesome Epitaph’ (2012) aside from a love for Swedish death metal’s ballsy trust. 2018 finds Eroded achieving a surreal, weighty guitar tone that could send bricks flying and I’m not sure I’ve heard anything so close to Mercyless‘ ‘Abject Offerings’ in quite a while where the complexity of Sinister‘s ‘Cross the Styx’ finds the pace of Obituary or Morta Skuld. It might just sound like a typical sort of death metal taking from every scene but that random number generator of influence actually pans out in Eroded‘s favor. The riffs are anything but ordinary in their lumbering refrains and tempo changes; This restless dance between tension and mountainous crawling riffs is so rarely mastered among the monotonous sea of old school death metal’s global recreation society.
The last band to really nail pacing with olden influence so deftly was probably Skeletal Remains, who have since evolved into a greater beast of excess. Eroded arrive here on ‘Necropath’ with their own set of semblances and sleeve-worn influences yet in the midst of the action those similarities are largely melted. This sort of album always presents some difficulty because the depth of my interest really goes no further than a great sound, smart compositions that remind me of Mercyless , ‘Utopia Banished’ era Napalm Death, Excruciate (Sweden), and a spin that improves in value with greater familiarity. I don’t think an album’s value cedes anything when it hangs on those merits if its content is strong enough; In the case of ‘Necropath’ the riffs do all of the work in convincing me of Eroded‘s high worth. For preview I would suggest “Oath of the Raidergods” for it’s ripping early Unleashed-meets-Carcass approach, and “Of Graven Blood on Earth” if you’re not buying the Mercyless comparison. Highly recommended.
Merchants of vile raptures. 3.75/5.0
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