Necro — Gory Days
As someone who really wasn't into rap until the very end of the 90s, my experience with the genre has always involved a lot of overlap with the metal genre. Aside from bands like Limp Bizkit adding elements of rap to their sound, the artists who first caught my attention tended to rap about 'metal' subject — with a fixation on violence and killing. DMX was my introduction to the genre, although it took years before I really dove into it, beyond the big mainstream artists like Eminem, Wu-Tang Clan and Dr. Dre. It took a while to make friends who were into the genre and get deeper recommendations.
It was one of my co-workers, at an old cooking job in 2002, who gave me a CD-R with a bunch of Necro songs on it. I was told it was like Eminem's darker material, but more underground. The disc was a compilation of tracks from Necro's debut LP I Need Drugs and Gory Days. He wasn't kidding, as each song had a rugged, low-fi production quality, completely over-the-top lyrics and an... interesting cast of guests. Necro himself is a unique emcee, with a mild lisp and a fixation on rapid fire flows about anything and everything you'd expect from the late-90s equivalent of a shitposting edgelord.
Coming back to this record evoked a lot of laughs and an equal amount of cringing. Instrumentally, it's actually a really impressive effort. The beats are grimy, but not excessively low-fi, and the samples are a lot more varied than I would expect for such a low-brow project. For all his weaknesses as an emcee, Necro's production game has always been incredibly strong. Gory Days doesn't have anything quite as catchy as "Your Fuckin' Head Split," but the instrumentals on cuts like "Circle Of Tyrants" and "Poetry In The Streets" still hold up reasonably well.
The main thing holding Necro back has been his limitations on the mic. While he's actually got a decent flow, his voice has a monotone sound and some of his verses are delivered like he's tone deaf. His verses are usually 2/3 fire but he doesn't stick the landing as often as he should. Sometimes the material is amusing enough to prevail over these shortcomings, like on the genuinely hilarious "Dead Body Disposal," a step-by-step guide on the subject. Likewise, "Scalpel" is so stupid it's great, as Necro sings a multi-tracked chorus of "stabbed up with a scalpel - you're gettin' stabbed" that still makes me giggle like an idiot to this day.
As much as I love the over-the-top violence and absurdity inherent to the material, there's a lot of sexism and homophobia that really falls flat in 2020. When I was younger, I overlooked this stuff, but at 36 I have a different view on these things than I did at 18. I won't pretend I didn't laugh at the vulgarity of "All Hotties Eat The Jizz" — which, musically, is not good either — or the crass underpinings of "12 King Pimp Commandments." I don't really consider songs like this offensive, they're too dumb and primitive — they're just terrible jokes that don't land anymore. There's also the truly wretched play on Blondie's "One Way Or Another" which turns the middling oldies hit into an ode to rape — and presents the listener with another music-adjacent dud.
All things considered, there is still some amusement to be had in listening to Gory Days. Necro is still churning out this sort of material at a steady rate, too — for better or worse. I can't say I hate the record now, although I enjoy it far, far less than I did when I first heard this material. I don't think it's a matter of the record aging well, I grew up while it just got older. The best thing to come out of this album was the Circle Of Tyrants 'supergroup' that first collaborated here, on their namesake track.
The second full-length studio album from underground rapper / producer Necro is a collection of grimy, provocative and ultimately ridiculous tracks. Gory Days is funny, disturbing and outright offensive, and not always when its creator likely intended. This is a relic from a different era; arguably an underground classic but certainly one of the most high-profile albums in the horrorcore niche. Is it good, though? Absolutely not.
Release date: November 7th, 2001
Record label: Psycho Logical Records
Necro — vocals, production
Mr. Hyde — vocals (tracks 4, 16)
Goretex — vocals (track 4)
Ill Bill — vocals (tracks 4, 11)
Captain Carnage — vocals (track 4)
The Kid Joe — vocals (track 12)
- Bury You With Satan
- World Gone Mad
- Light My Fire
- Circle Of Tyrants
- Dead Body Disposal
- You're All Dying
- All Hotties Eat The Jizz
- 12 King Pimp Commandments
- Gory Days
- Poetry In The Streets
- Don't Try To Ruin It
- One Way Or Another
- 24 Shots
- Violence Of Violence
Published: March 25th, 2020.