Death metal isn’t and really shouldn’t be limited in scope when it comes to sound and subject matter, and we’ve seen so many bands branch out and do crazy shit, that sticking to the roots almost seems complacent. But that’s a lie. The roots matter, they always should, and any band that truly drinks from that insect-buzzing, disgusting swamp keeps the basis of this sound alive, well, and dangerous.
That brings us to Cerebral Rot, the lurching, ferocious death demons from Seattle who have been making ugly, gruesome metal that pays homage to where this stuff came from in the first place. Adding to that perverse glee is the band isn’t afraid to get slimy and gross (their Metal Archives profile lists death, decomposition, and feces as regular lyrical themes), and there’s something so satisfying about that, even while you’re holding back your vomit. That carries over on their devastating new record “Excretion of Mortality,” a seven-track, 47-minute excursion into the grossest, most detestable subject matter, and it all sounds so creepy and good. The band—guitarist/vocalist Ian Scwab, guitarist Clyle Lindstrom, bassist Zach Nehl, drummer Drew O’Bryant—isn’t shy to open veins and bleed you heavily, making you lose consciousness as you slip into a putrid pool of the unspeakable.
The title track opens and brings stirring riffs and trudging agony, while the growls are so gnarly, they practically hiss. The melodies get more progressive, and doom clouds even darken the skies, the band rips you apart at the waist, and the leads tangle before everything dies in humidity. “Vile Yolk of Contagion” (um … gross!) rips open as deeply lurching growls slither, and absolute menace spreads its wings. The band then drubs you into oblivion before speed attacks, ugly, intestinal growls smear, and everything comes to a vicious ending. “Spewing Purulence” unleashes guitars ripping holes in steel, thick bass barreling like a cement truck, and savage growls that crawl up your spine. The leads squeal as the playing gets meatier, swinging into something I can only describe as swaggering doom. Growls return and leave blisters, and the leads scorch, turning everything to ash.
“Bowels of Decrepitude” slaughters right off the bat as the growls leaves welts. The leads go off and do ample damage while faces are melted off onto the floor, as the playing mauls and numbs you, twisting your muscles before signing off. “Drowned in Malodor” continues the theme of delivering thick, rich doom that’s also kind of nauseating, letting growls roll in and weird speaking hypnotize. Feedback bleeds, the bass plods, and the track goes into a death spiral, rumbling to the end. “Retching Innards” brings guitars carving pathways, trudging before it really amps up the intensity. The track bashes away as the drums rumble the earth, pulverizing and wrecking psyches. The leads fire up and merge, scrambling brains, finally letting you up for air. “Crowning the Disgustulent (Breed of Repugnance)” is the closer and longest song of the bunch, running 11:05. They make the most with their time as after a spooky opening, the guitars unload, the pace dices, and we’re fully into gusting fires and devastation. That sends the power to the center as the leads swarm, and the violence increases, with the growls finally arriving about 6 minutes in. From there, flesh is mangled as the playing churns and twists guts, and the whole thing ends with the drums taking over, ending things in a haze of echoed double kicks.
Everything about “Excretion of Mortality” is a festering wound burning in the sun, stinking and letting disease set into the flesh. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Cerebral Rot, and they deliver in disgusting amounts, creating death metal that is vile and putrid while also satisfyingly heavy. This is a record that, once it’s fully out in the world and absorbed, will be on the tip of everyone’s tongues when discussing this year’s best slabs of true death metal.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/cerebralrotdm
To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/cerebralrot
For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/