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As a Necrophagia fan, I can't say there is much to be disappointed with concernning Death Trip 69. They (i.e. whoever Killjoy has in his ranks at the time) still do their feral 'phagiaphonics just the way a horror-obsessed metal junkie like me like it. What we have here is an atmosphere that reeks of decay and drips with mental phantasmagoria; even with the noticable lack of keyboards. They were a very cinematic and fitting addition to the girthey Harvest Ritual Vol. 1, yet seemed a bit too...essential, at least when viewing the album as a whole.
On Death Trip 69, the band seems more themselves with this non-disparaging regression, retroing it out just enough to nod toward Holocausto DeLa Morte dipping it's skanky, big toe into an almost-evaporated Season of the Dead puddle. So, this more emaciated version of Killjoy's monster only benefits from the thinner production and more clas-sick vibe if that just happens to work for you.
It's thrashier, simpler, much more guitar-driven, and- as always- venomous. Where Death Trip 69 lacks in punch and nightstick bludgeoning (which is more of a job for the likes of Dying Fetus), it makes up for with clawing, chewing, and vomiting. Killjoy's vocals are just as possessed as ever. Samples of classic horror movies are wedged fittingly between almost every non-musical moment. The mix is dirty, but even.
I could almost compare this release to a live Necrophagia concert with good venue acoustics, a good soundman, and all new material as the setlist. What true fan of grimy death metal wouldn't enjoy that? I suppose my only gripes would be the somewhat bright, silly cover art and the awkward inclusion of that guy from Amen on "A Funeral For Solange"... Oh! And, not that it's a problem for yours truly; but it ends with a hippy acoustic sing-along about Charlie Manson. That's right. Dig that shit, man.
Necrophagia's biography is almost as horrific as its music. You could say a long-running death metal band that influenced many groups yet never received the acclaim they deserved and Phil Anselmo’s place in Necrophagia's discography are both terrifying endeavors, but Killjoy still carries his zombie army to the moonlight night after night, never complaining. "Deathtrip 69" takes place six years after "Harvest Ritual Volume 1," basically continuing the band's simplistic, driving death metal curse Killjoy zapped to life back in 1983. It was delayed a lot, sure, and it took a long time to finally emerge from the crypt, but Necrophagia fans, fear not: your undead warlords are still capable of making you happy.
Except for the polished production, not a whole lot has changed in the Necrophagia camp, musically, at least. Necrophagia's journey is essentially a mirror of their discography, with simple, crawling riffs hacking like knifes while Killjoy does that raspy shriek-thingy he does. The band's strive usually looks pretty fun, and I'll be the first to tell you that "Deathtrip 69" becomes more appealing with every listen. The riffs, melodies, structural themes and other core parts of Necrophagia's necromancy are fashionable for every member of the death metal family, especially the ones with a violence fetish.
Killjoy lyrically brings the horror tales to the voice of "Deathtrip 69," with tales of terror and blood about Satan and Charles Manson, oh my! Yes, lyrics aren't important usually, but it's good to see Necrophagia still keeps their verbosity alive and well; over twenty years on and still telling tales about ghouls and graveyards. I like the unusual tints they add to some of the tracks as well, like the melancholic lead that closes "Bleeding Eyes of the Eternally Damned," which is really unexpected and totally superb. "A Funeral for Solange" is a strange, acoustic-based tripper which halts the storm of gore and instead creates a creepy, sorrowful perception. Weird, but very cool.
So "Deathtrip 69" holds its own as a Necrophagia album from its gruesome beginning to the hilarious outro. There are a few questionable moments here and there, but I have nothing to bitch about overall, honestly. I mean, the head-throbbing heart of curses that pumps the addicting, beating drive in Necrophagia's torturous galley never fails to keep the record fresh and bursting with death metal goodness. It isn't the best thing ever, yet "Deathtrip 69" still gets a solid thumbs-up, and there's no doubt in my mind that Charles Manson approves as well.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com