TUMBA DE CARNE – Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar (2021)REVIEW

After years in grinding motion we are awash in the silt of their struggle, choking on a wave of poisonous minutiae as it pushes the mystified and unwilling psyche out to drown at sea. Surrealistic intimacy sewn in barbaric stitch to chaotic aggression and the despondent husk resultant, this debut full-length from Argentinian avant-garde death metal quintet Tumba De Carne has the soul-shattering resonance of a defeated and shambling dystopian noise rock/math metal record were it delivered by a deep underground experimental deathgrind band. Wrathfully complex yet delivered with enough tangible emotive statement to convey a crumbling tragedian swell within its brief half hour float to the depths, ‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar‘ presents its core duality of worship and rejection with a cruel and unusual potency typically reserved for bands several releases deeper into the process of realizing their weirding self.

Tumba De Carne formed as the still-standing quintet of today in Buenos Aires circa 2014, eventually recording a rehearsal (‘Ensayo‘, 2017) as they were preparing their well-received first public demo ‘Comunión‘ (2018). Much of what you’ll glean from that first demo naturally presages what is fully realized on ‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar’ and perhaps because, from what I’ve gathered, this album was essentially finished in 2019 but delayed for obvious enough reasons. This is all the more impressive for the sake of the compression of stylized traits we can witness in the space of what is essentially three years beyond the chunking, sludgy math-grind of earlier recordings. We still get whopping whiffs of that approach on the more harried sections of the full-length (see: “Odian”, “Ciego”) but the big breakthrough of ‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar’ is the designed feel of the full listen where the movement of the running order feels like a larger statement rather than a grip of specifically effective songs. This’ll be for better or worse depending the listener, either a casual thrill from the blurring of many sub-genre lines or a dark and deeply uncomfortable pit to wallow in for the truly sick.

It’d be natural to consider, or at least assume some influence from the angular post-‘Obscura’ generative abnormality of death metal abstraction during the initial descent into ‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar’ as similarly blunted records such as Baring Teeth‘s ‘Ghost Chorus Among Old Ruins‘ and Flourishing‘s ‘Intersubjectivity‘ likewise capitalized upon the claustrophobic rails of chaotic hardcore and introspective post-hardcore forms while pushing the limits of frantic tech-death aggression but Tumba De Carne seem to be approaching these sorts of sounds from an even more opened armed approach to a meth-metallic ‘tech’ grindcore perspective; Capitalizing upon a dissonant and downward-flowing experience which forces the ear to normalize within close quarters shove between beauteous post-hardcore movements, brutally dissonant odd-timed hits, and sludge-plowed deathgrind. It is a mutation of forms that should naturally wrack the anxietous response out of the average listener but this body-shaking high is not without any functional forms. Though the roadmap is not as freeform as Ad Nauseam (‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar’ was actually mastered by guitarist Andrea P.) nor is it as precision-based as Serpent Column or tech-death aggressive as Bufihimat, there is a similar sense of cutting edge perspective conveyed while wheeling through this debut, softening the raw edges of their material on ‘Comunión’ and attempts a better-rounded, more cohesive half hour sitting. From early Blurring to Barús or even the somewhat forgotten ‘Bliss’ from Reverie mid last decade we do not find easy bedfellows for Tumba De Carne by obviate comparisons alone but the end result of looking for like-minded outliers is some understanding of attack and dire tonality. Moments of great chaotic terror juxtaposed with ornate reveals of avant-garde/post-spiritual coldness.

Five 6-8 minute songs land within a conservatively set ~31 minutes and for my own taste this is exactly the right amount of time to step into the cross-eyed riffing n’ roaring world of Tumba De Carne and step out while the compositions are still freshly vexing, an obscure puzzle to return to with an increasingly trained ear. This is a refreshing sort of antidote to a band like Altarage who’ve pushed into such a maximal approach with each record that releases increasingly become a long and blurred over experience too mundane to retain. With that said this is harsh and unforgiving territory all the same and will likely appeal most readily to folks already attuned to the bleak mental discharge of brutal and dissonant death metal and grindcore forms, a bleakness echoed in sludge and math metal edged influences which I assume make up some smaller percentage of these Buenos Aires-based young fellowes’ listening habits. The miserable sway of “Ulcera” and the catastrophic slow hammer-out of “Herida” are engaging for my own tastes but I can see why the full listen would be taxing and hellish for most. The only complaint I have is that I’m not sure the quick-witted movement of opener “Errar” is ever fully reprised within the other four pieces and I’d wanted a return to this level of energy to shove things along despite the relative quickness of the listen otherwise.

By no stretch of the imagination is ‘Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar’ a joy to listen to and I figure that is ultimately the point of presenting it as an experience of opposing forces, you are meant to squirm a bit throughout the process of familiarization and appreciation. I found the experience easy to appreciate as a whole, particularly for their focus on mid-paced and slapping rhythms and constant dives into what’ll likely read as ‘modern’ off-kilter hardcore influences to most. It is an exciting album to return to, a run which is just challenging enough to be worth every spin, and I find it exciting that I cannot begin to guess what Tumba de Carne will do next. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
TITLE:Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar
LABEL(S):Lavadome Producitons
RELEASE DATE:September 27th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Avant-Garde/Technical Death Metal,
Post-Death Metal

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