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NECROS (Buy CDs by this artist)
Necros EP (Dischord/Touch and Go) 1981
Conquest for Death (Touch and Go) 1983
Tangled Up (Restless) 1987
Live or Else (Medusa) 1989
NECROS/WHITE FLAG
Jail Jello EP (Gasatanka) 1986

This Ohio punk quartet's crunching thrash metal is devastating — and not just in its speed and power, although those qualities are present in brutal abundance. The tough part about listening to the Necros is the awkward, ungainly chord sequences they drag you through. As soon as they gather a head of steam, the band dives into a deliberate tune-defeating change for the mosh section. But the harsh result keeps a fresh edge on the energy, preventing the thrash from blurring into generic noise. Although Conquest for Death is pigeonhole hardcore, the Necros have enough creative verve and imagination to make it exciting. (The earlier EP — nine surprisingly clear-sounding pre-hardcore punk slices on a 7-inch 45 — shows a young early lineup, including Touch and Go's Corey Rusk on bass, to be starting out with a commitment to song structure and careful playing.)

Tangled Up comes wrapped in a spiffy Big Daddy Roth cover painting of Rat Fink; the Necros (only two original members remain) temper their hardcore instincts for bristling, burly guitar rock — an easily accessible and likable punk sound. There are still a few obligatory mosh parts so skins know where to change their mode of dance, but, for the most part, songs blaze straight through without a breather. Stalwart Barry Henssler sings routine lyrics in a strong and listenable voice against the answering refrains as Andy Wendler's power chords sizzle with distortion in a frenzy of well-focused energy. (Credit the band and their manager for the noteworthy production.)

The joint EP with White Flag contains three songs by each, recorded in support of Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra during his censorship-related legal troubles.

[John Leland/Ira Robbins]