If you’d been blown away by the overlooked and long-forgotten brilliance of Eugene, Oregon band Thrombus‘ ‘Mental Turmoil’ tape as it was resurrected from the grave last year, consider this an incredibly violent precursor that’d taken more stock in death/thrash and late 80’s death metal than the Autopsy-esque spawn soon after. That isn’t to say that Sepsis were in direct lineage with Thrombus but rather that Mike Brown (Shadow of the Torturer, Aldebaran) and drummer Karl Fowler would work together again after Sepsis dissolved in 1991. So, a long lost run of 70 likely hand-dubbed tapes from 1991… How does the material hold up? Incredibly well, particularly if you’re attuned to the more insane thrashing antics of the crowded demo era of the early 90’s.
The first thing that’d come to mind when firing up ‘To Make Rotten’ was Ohio death/thrash metal band Ripped and maybe a hint of early Sepultura among the raw and inventive death metal riffing that dominates the first several songs on the demo. “Necro Introvert Pesticide Injector” has a fantastic thrashing rip to it that massively energizes the momentum of the demo to the point where the only reasonable comparisons begin to cross over into deathgrind territory thanks to the completely nuts vocal performances. If only modern death metal vocalists were this exuberant and acted with such reckless ruthlessness; The underground forces of the sub-genre would be doubly steeled by such insanity could they manage it. The same goes for the treatment of the guitar riff here where the thrash metal spectrum of attack hadn’t yet been fully steamed out of the wrinkled corpse of death. A decent enough analogue might be Vastum today or Impetigo at the time.
‘To Make Rotten’ is an entirely worthy addition to the library of the death metal demo tape archivist and any major fandom who’d continue to scour the Earth for primitive death metal madness. Sepsis offer a fully formed album length demo release here that sounds just as relevant today as it would have in 1991; A cleanly presented and brutally thrashing death metal tape aimed almost entirely at the throat it’d punch and cut in alternation ’til death. The energy and performances are likely what will draw folks in for repeat listens as I think the riffs are exceptional but nothing that would surprise folks familiar with where death metal had gone by 1991. Highly recommended. An essential stroke of Oregon’s scarce old school death metal history.
In the corners of your mind. 3.75/5.0
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