ROTHADÁS – Kopár hant​.​.​. az alvilág felé (2021)REVIEW

My orphaned song, what are you now? / The soul of ballads long deceased? / What ghost comes forth to mop and mow? / Whose spirit has the grave released? / What eyelid weary for the night…? / What word at some dry waterhole…? / Where are you life? O life in spite – / Where is the springtime of my soul?” Arany János, Letészem a lantot

Forever falling through the sinus scouring salt and sulphur-lined pits of the underworld, all untamable lelkek make their descent as unwilling detritus, lilting toward the dark-sparkling and eyeless dim of their end. Carved by the black flaming corruption of Ürdüng in co-creation of each realm of men and souls, whatever cyclic purpose these obsidian cathedrals persist with is yet colorful superstition ensorcelled in the minds of we middle-worlders wherein grief and rotting decay are worked around or simply buried along with the dead. Named for corporeal decay and presented as a tormented funeral dirge on a moonlit midnight, the sky is filled with the heated hiss of consecrated spirits as Hungarian death/doom metal duo Rothadás unveil the cist, the body and the wake on this their morbid and miserably atmospheric debut ‘Kopár hant​.​.​. az alvilág felé‘.

Formed on or before 2019 these two fellowes, whom hail from Szeged in the southern great plain region of Hungary, are fairly well known in terms of underground death and thrash metal emanations from their country having impressed with a handful of releases from Tyrant Goatgaldrakona and Mörbid Carnage as well as bassist/guitarist Tibor Hanyi‘s international project Cryptworm. If you are familiar with any of these bands the gist is gritty, occult and organic forms with some strong fealty to the ‘old school’ ways. The key to each rising above the usual fare lies in carrying no fear of modern day elevation while still, generally speaking, avoiding anything trendy in poor taste. This is especially true for their work in Rothadás which had an almost early Peaceville three sort of kick to the opening of their first demo ‘Rothadás‘, (2019). That first tape now appears most related to the material on this full-length by way of its second half, “Hantolt méreg”, which’d given a hint of Finnish death/doom metal influence likewise heard on album opener “Utolsó kenet”; Here the duo’s balance of pure death metal movement, atmospheric death metal ease, and slow-reveal doom metal riffs should immediately catch the ear of folks who go for Krypts, Void Rot and the more recent records from Ataraxy whom each feature easy-ebbing and highly atmospheric riff progressions seamless in connection with mid-paced death metal function. A warmer, heavier guitar tone dominates Rothadás‘ sound to the point that direct comparisons to the stylized bristle and coldness of bands like Bloodsoaked Necrovoid and Rippikoulu isn’t an exact match, yet we are more-or-less dealing with a predator of similar speciation.

Rot is a gradual process, a patiently reeking farewell which may speed or slow based on the atmosphere in which it transpires, nevertheless it persists with the confidence of natural law as flesh and microbe amble toward the end result. This turns out to be a decent description of how each of these five ~7-10 minute death metal pieces develop their own dynamic, riff-focused signature in the molder of Rothadás‘ hands. “Koporsószeg” for example has the familiar ringing chords and slow motion doom metal influenced progressions most well-attuned death/doom metal fandom will appreciate as a known spectrum yet the burl of the riffs rings increasingly dissonant as we move towards the mid-point of the song, arguably the fastest build-and-release into brutality we’re served on the full listen. “Sírkő” likewise directs its core riff progression with eerie, fairly simple lead melodies which somewhat predictably transform into a barreling main riff. That isn’t a complaint, mind you, but a suggestion that the direction these songs take isn’t meant to be total subversion of expectations but that they are implied as effective and immersive moments, this sets ‘Kopár hant​.​.​. az alvilág felé’ in line with records like ‘Unending Degradation’ or ‘The Doom Skeptron’.

Side A has morbid conviction enough to carry the album for most death/doom metal fans but Side B is where we finally rest the coffin within the crypt itself and bear the full weight of our fading light. My personal favorite piece on the album, “Kripta“, appears as the blood pooling in the legs of the pallbearer, a burdened walking descent unto dreadful acceptance of this soul-swallowing funereal dirge. These are the finest riffs on the album for my own taste, not only the grinding uptick through the fourth minute but the break beyond starting around ~4:09 minutes into the piece with its twisted trills and stamped-out aggression which, I suppose tangentially reminds me of the best parts of Ceremonium‘s ‘No Longer Silent’ albeit by a much more practiced hand. This major high point only persists as we move from the glowering doom metal riffs that close “Kripta” unto the incredible roar of ~13 minute closer “Temető”. Drummer/vocalist Lambert Lédeczy has already been impressive throughout this album in terms of deeper vocal register but on this final piece we hear his throat bursting with its own sinister hoark to start, echoing and boiling atop the low-tuned high speed pressurization of the song. It is the sort of song you’ll become lost within, in a good way, long before it ends and before the mind can register its final resting place the urge to repeat the full listen is strong.

At just about ~45 minutes ‘Kopár hant​.​.​. az alvilág felé’ feels enormous as an experience but never becomes laborious or taxing thanks to the mystère of its riff progressions and frequently shifting pace. It may take a moment to sink in just how professional and stylized this debut from Rothadás is despite these Hungarian folks not being very well known and the album being sung entirely in their native tongue yet they’ve conjured such convincing and thrillingly heavy work that I am sure this record will win most over easily. Though there is some room for expansion and development of an even more direct signature in their future, there’ll be no major complaints from me in terms of this nearly flawless debut. The full listen is a prime highlight within a packed month for releases and I’ve enjoyed it from every angle. A very high recommendation.

Very high recommendation. (90/100)

Rating: 9 out of 10.
TITLE:Kopár hant​.​.​. az alvilág felé
LABEL(S):Me Saco Un Ojo [12″ LP]
Pulverised Records [CD],
Desiccated Productions [CS]
RELEASE DATE:October 12th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Death Metal,
Death/Doom Metal

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