OLD SKULL – Death Rattle (2020)REVIEW

Nailed to the wall, or stuck there by the will of heartily congealed blood, gawks a row of skinned and rotting skulls peeking beyond a mass of worm and innards bulging with gases of rotting origin. Decomposition displayed as a pitiable form of ‘folk art’ in scene and aided by brutish death metal comes with tales of twisted macabre visions recalling the days of early 90’s demo tapes in the hands of Polish duo Old Skull. ‘Death Rattle’ isn’t here for a poetry slam or a gaze at the stars above, there is no existential crisis or life-affirming transcendental vision guiding their craft. No, the Leszno-based deathsters’ debut EP is the sort of pulpy morbid rape n’ murder fantasy meant to shock the desensitized and disturb folks who’ve worked up the courage to crack their lyric sheet open. Vigorous cocks nailing hundred year old virgin bodies, murderous atrocities carried out against Christ’s most holy sheep and herders, a strangler who insists on cumming on the carpet and eating a sandwich before he murder-rapes his victim. Shocked? Disgusted? Hah. Ah well, what if the riffs were halfway decent?

Beyond being almost sure I heard the word ‘hypno-dicks’ on “Decocktion” most of Old Skull‘s lyrics are indecipherable puke n’ barfed fare aiming for a mix of Undergang and post-’97 Cianide where the oldest masters of neanderthal death metal still carried those punkish Hellhammer‘d rhythms in their back pockets. Atypical for Poland’s more visible legacy, Old Skull‘s chunking and slop-fed orthodox death metal attack comes from members of death metal/hardcore group Bloodstained and blackened heavy/doom metal band Ur and with that context one can glean their general point of view and supplied modus sticks to ‘old school’ sounds with some relevant modern needs met. This is perhaps only true in the case of Old Skull for the sake of caveman aesthetics being inadvertently trendy these last couple of years, their aim doesn’t appear to be fashion death metal shit just yet.

If you’ll rewind a couple years back when Skullcrush put out their first demo with a hint of Bolt Thrower and Necrot gleaming in their eyes you’ll have angled your thoughts nearby what ‘Death Rattle’ accomplishes in its ~20 minute run of six songs. Big chunking riffs with an unperturbed down-tuned guitar sound and belligerent vocals really do begin to remind me of the age of Cianide and Derkéta tapes but sped up a bit to ‘Severed Survival’ severity and less prone to death/doom breaks. “Father of Woe” sounds like it could’ve been on the first Benediction record if it’d been recorded next door to ‘Til Døden Os Skiller‘. Straight forward death metal riffs punched out with hardcorish simplicity, ever-edging towards the next movement a la the early Tomb Mold stuff. You get the idea… Violence, filth, ignorance and chugs. Some of it stands out on repeat, such as the sheet metal twanging guitar tone as the title track fires up the EP or the punishing satisfaction of the strongest track “Father of Woe”. “Fueled by Fear” was almost there had its guitar performances been a bit tighter in realizing the central gore metal melody implied. A foul and entirely satisfactory experience that’ll only appeal to the absolute devout death metal slob.

Moderate recommendation.

Rating: 7 out of 10.
ARTIST:Old Skull
TITLE:Death Rattle
LABEL(S):Putrid Cult
RELEASE DATE:April 28th, 2020
BUY/LISTEN/STREAM:Putrid Cult Webstore [CD] Bandcamp [Stream]
GENRES:Death Metal

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