Reviews by Paul Castles
With the death metal river threatening to burst its banks only the elite forces can stay afloat as the less contenders struggle to keep their heads above the water. Sink or swim? Paul Castles wipes down his goggles and pulls five new releases from the dark murky waters.
Aborted Fetus – Private Judgement Day
If you stick your neck on the line and call yourself Aborted Fetus then you’re really heading for a fall with the army of Dying Fetus fans. That is unless of course you come up with something suitably depraved and destructive as to be welcomed by the Fetus faithful. Private Judgement Day achieves that accolade with something to spare. Thirty seconds into opening track ‘Savage Dominance’ we know we’re in business with horror movie vocals, blistering breakdowns, and runaway riffs.
The interesting thing with these sick savages (‘Fuck in a Pesthole’ anyone?) is that they’re from Russia not the first place you would suspect of churning out death metal as incendiary as this. Just like Dying Fetus, Aborted Fetus are also a three-man crew and Private Judgement Day is their third full length release. Vocalist Alexander gives the impression that he’s singing while trying to eat a mouthful of pear drops; a gurgling impenetrable volley of noise.
This is the soundtrack to a Victorian abattoir, gory, gut-churning and red raw with buckets of blood. Coming in at 25 minutes this 10 tracker won’t take long to get through but the relentless crushing swathes of brutality will make Private Judgement Day an album that you’ll be glad to play to death.
8 out of 10
- Savage Dominance
- Necropolis Demography
- Garden of Kidney Stones
- Fuck In a Pesthole
- Private Judgement Day
- Malignant Pregnancy
- Gastronomic Confession
- Brown Totem
- Guinea Pig
- Morning Inferno
Down From The Wound – Violence and the Macabre
The hardcore scene has a pretty devout following in the Philippines and Down From The Wound are one of several formidable forces blasting out extreme aural assaults from that part of the world. While not quite possessing quite the knockout punch of Aborted Fetus, Down From The Wind still manage to land a succession of weighty blows on Violence and the Macabre.
‘Ill Fated Annihilation’ is something of a frenetic opener, disjointed at times, but don’t let that put you off. Down From The Wound march to a slower death metal tune but still come off the ropes fighting and start to show their true colours towards the end of the second number ‘Hypocritical Repentance’ with a groove deeper than the Grand Canyon. ‘Convulsive Human Atrocities’ is another solid slab of death metal from these Manila monsters infused with some fiery breakout riffs. Tristan Dela Cruz has a deep drawling delivery that rarely alters in speed or frequency. It’s just a constant destructive drone.
The majority of tracks from the South East Asian aggressors come in at four or five minutes rather than the short and snappy takeouts of more full-on bands. Down From Wound are still a brutal bunch and on songs such as ‘Drown in Unjustified Extinction’ they unleash a savage snarling pitbull of a track tugging away at your limbs, with phlegm balls flying through the air.
The Philippines generally only makes the headlines over here when there’s some kind of destructive tornado ripping things to shreds. Violence and the Macabre will keep the weatherman happy.
7 out of 10
- Ill Fated Annihilation
- Hypocritical Repentance
- Comvulsive Human Atrocities
- Schematic Fraud
- Beyond the Depths of Epidemic Abortion
- Violence and the Macabre
- Drowned in Unjustified Extinction
- The Aftermath
- Exteriorized Mystecism
- Contesting the Scared
Lay Down Rotten – Deathspell Catharsis
German juggernauts Lay Down Rotten play a compelling brand of melodic death metal. Their latest release, Deathspell Catharsis is a pearler. Straight from the opening cleanly picked harmonies of ‘Cassandra’s Haunting’ you’re dragged into a teutonic torture chamber. Lay Down Rotten have been parading their inviting brand of death metal; around Europe for 15 years but this latest release is their first through Apostasy Records.
There’s a real vibrant vibe surrounding the album and while vocalist Jost Kleinert has a great bear-like gruff voice it isn’t the intelligible bawl that some DM frontmen opt for. You can just about pick out the words if you try hard enough! Really though, Lay Down Rotten’s appeal lies in their harmonies and acute rhythms that pulse throughout Deathspell Catharsis like a wandering wilderbeast.
‘Schädelberg’ opens up with some disturbing human wailing before some sharpened guitar cuts lead you into the meaty rumbling riff and a six-minute journey during which the tempo is varied with interest sustained throughout. Lay Down Rotten don’t blitz through tracks but stomp through them. The power and energy lies within but is released at a steady menacing pace rather than in mini explosive blasts.
The songs have time to breathe and they’re not afraid to veer off into the occasional guitar solo. These though are technically sharp and the album has a fairly polished level of production. Tracks like ‘Blood on Wooden Crosses’ adopt a more vicious tone but still possesses some suitably inflammable guitar breaks and hellish growls from frontman Jost.
8 out of 10
- Cassandra’s Haunting
- Deathspell Catharsis
- The Fever
- Release Into Nothingness
- Zombiefied / Electrified
- Among the Ruins of a Once Glorious Temple
- Infernal Agony
- Blood on Wooden Crosses
- Blasphemous Rituals for the Perverted Flesh
TrenchRot – Necronomic Warfare
As album titles go, Necronomic Warfare ticks all the boxes and the hand grenades start exploding with ever increasing rapidity right from the opening self-promoting track ‘Death by TrenchRot’. With so many World War I anniversaries being marked over the next year a band called TrenchRot offer a topical soundtrack to the horrors of war. Second song ‘Gustav Gun’ kicks in with a machine gun-powered beat from which dodging the incessant volley of bullets is futile. You’re gonna get hit and it’s gonna bloody hurt.
TrenchRot’, who hail from Philadelphia, have only been together a couple of years but this debut release shows they’ve come a long way in a short time. The feel is very much old school death metal liberally coated with a layer of grime. War is a dirty business and filth oozes from every putrid pore of this release. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Bolt Thrower, if TrenchRot’s intention is to purvey the brutalities of conflict through their music then tortured tracks such as ‘Mad Dogs of War’ suggest they’ve come pretty close. Agonising vocal cries from the frontline breakout mid-track while a haunting riff paints a picture of a bleak landscape littered with carnage and decay.
Necronomic Warfare deals very much with the guts and gore of war rather than the flag waving celebrations of victory. The album’s title track, all seven minutes of it, shows TrenchRot adopt a more methodical somber approach to battle with a lengthy intro followed by a great grinding riff. There’s no doubt TrenchRot have earned their stripes with this first full length release.
7 out of 10
- Death by TrenchRot
- Gustav Gun
- The Most Unspeakable of Acts
- Mad Dogs of War
- Sickening Devotion
- Necrotic Victory
- Maddening Aggression
- Necronomic Warfare
- Gallery of the Dead
- Trapped Under Treads
- Dragged Down to Hell