Scrying unto unfathomable darkness through a pile of nauseating intestinal mush, their necromantic conjurer is centuries dead yet the diabolically enchanted departed reap on. Their busywork persists, contemplating the cosmos of the corporeal one festering and chain-strangled corpse at a time. Each evisceration is entirely mechanical, all muscle memory, as rotten flesh is detangled from wet and sturdy bones– Their hands great shredding forks to the flayed meat of their victims, steaming upon the grey blood-soaked wooden examination table. Clicks of curious approval and rabid gnashing excitement crack from the jaws of these living dead! The curse would be broken, their impossible task complete. Grasping the knotted and seeping bowels of their creator’s kin these abhorrent ghouls slick their tight grasp down the shaft of thy yanked putrid guts to pour the half-digested essence of cursed familial ordure into their mouths, welcoming instant disenchantment of their corpse and shattering the cursed eternity of rotten mutilation at hand. This dungeon of dank and mutated ancient massacre persists today as a glowing tomb of the wretched deep in the watery bowels of Portland, Oregon where the latest graveyard-scouring fiends to benefit from its mutagenic fumes is surely pure death metal quartet Coffin Rot. They the neon halo’d possessed brandish tire irons in-sleeve, ready to skull bash to the cerebellum of late 2019 with their undoubtedly ripping debut full-length ‘A Monument to the Dead’.
As it turns out a handful the boys from one of Portland’s heaviest sludge/doom metal bands, Tar Pit, can riff out old school death metal alongside the best of today’s retro-futuristic wave of rotten, stinking early 90’s influenced revisionism. I’d not been able to check these guys out at any Seattle area shows these last two years but did catch a glint of their sound on a split with Molder (who covered Morgue!) from last year; For sure their sound has changed in the time since that split where a brutal thrashing edge now trades its soul for (early) Grave style punishment and some break-neck Carcass-esque mania. Think along the lines of Benediction‘s ‘The Grand Leveller’ and Grave‘s ‘You’ll Never See…’ but capable of an Incantation style crawl or a ‘Cause of Death’ style floor-puncher here and there. ‘A Monument to the Dead’ is not a rhythmically limited as either of those records but you’ll get the general idea of the attack. The biggest exception to the rule comes with “Necrotized” with its sinister 90’s Sadistic Intent kind of death-thrashing vibe that shakes some variety into the middle of the tracklist just as Coffin Rot begins to hit upon a few redundancies.
Upon cursory listens it’d be easy to slap these Oregonian youths in with the primitive and disgusting wave of compatriots across the western United States this last half-decade but they’re not barbarians in the slightest. Instead ‘A Monument to the Dead’ acts in service of the inarguable peak creativity of ‘old school’ death metal circa 1992-1995 with some impressive reverence for non-brutal British and North American refinements within that period of heightened death metal expansion. This reality isn’t going to thrill the hipster futurist who wants an occult atmospheric sci-fi wind machine of an avant-death record but it should absolutely ring the dinner bell for the ‘old school’ death metal fan who enjoys referential stylistic influences, a mid-to-fast paced undertaking (think early Morta Skuld or Gorefest) and plenty of inspired riffing.
As a die-hard classic death metal fan everything about Coffin Rot works for me and I’d never found their overall sound to be too directly comparable to one point of worship. Trouble is, 2019 is packed out the ass with great death metal debuts, old favorites, and new halfway-there legacies; I’m still on the fence as to how much of a dent these guys can make in that wall. When taking a look outside of the present boon of death metal, Coffin Rot are undoubtedly world class pure death metal right out of the gates on this debut– No doubt ‘A Monument to the Dead’ is one of the most considered, professional, and well-written ‘classic’ death metal records of the month/year. Highly recommended. For preview purposes I’d suggest the varietal harassment of “Miasma of Barbarity” paired with the blasting insurgency of “Forced Self-Consumption” and if you’re worried it’ll all be too mid-paced check out “Mechanical Separation” to balance things out.
The screams behind the door. 4.0/5.0
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