CORPSESSED – Succumb to Rot (2022)REVIEW

Though our efforts toward mental inoculation against dreadful existential panicking prevents any obviate all-senses recoil, we are yet white-faced and bugging at the eyes in response. Jumping out of this wretched, unfit skin container with eyes ablur and the meat of our limbs vibrating in a horrified, nigh comical gnashing of fleshy ghast we go on fighting the chemical symptoms the mind is conditioned to ignore — We clutch the bulge of our kicking guts harder in doubt, our flighting innards activating far beyond the severity of death’s threat looming nearby. In this state of twisted human-animal reaction the skull is prepared in ritual, and out of habit, conditioned to grimace dutifully under the weight of existence one riff at a time before the gloom-striking visage of Finnish death metal quartet Corpsessed whom return with a truly disturbing sense of vengeance in hand as they present their third and finest yet full-length to date. ‘Succumb to Rot‘ is, from my own point of arms-flailing and horror-induced mania, the record they’ve been aiming to achieve for the last decade, a truly monstrous full-spectral representation of classicist and atmospherically rife death metal forms.

Corpsessed formed a ways north of Helsinki in Järvenpää circa 2007, a point in said decade where a renaissance had clearly arrived in the realm of Finnish death metal (see also: Krypts, Ascended, Lantern, Stench of Decay, Gorephilia, et al.) and this’d aligned well with Tyranny maestro and ex-Wormphlegm diarrhoeator/guitarist Matti Mäkelä and a crew of four to begin working on an ‘old school’ death metal sound taking major cues from early Amorphis and its worthy companion ‘Soulside Journey‘, one that’d likewise invoke their appreciation for the modern shaping of atmospheric values by way of pure death metal groups like Dead Congregation and Cruciamentum. Their sound managed to stand out once it’d made it to tape in demo/EP form with ‘The Dagger & The Chalice‘ (2011) for the sake of their having developed a style with conscious undercurrents of extreme doom and black metal inspiration in conjuration of atmospheric realm, a release most anyone from that era would’ve remembered as an early killer from the Dark Descent stable, one that’d been massively reinforced by their more resolutely stated 7″ EP (‘Corpsessed‘, 2012), the real mission statement of the band in a most potent and succinct single.

They couldn’t have had a bigger fan in me at that point, in fact it’d be fair to say I’d been so geared up for a full-length that when ‘Abysmal Thresholds‘ (2014) finally landed I guess I didn’t get the trip from point A to point B, they’d pushed into a different, bleakest atmospheric realm without landing the brutality (or riffs) expected. I figure this reaction on my part was sorta justified and remedied with their remix and partial re-recording of the full album with the digitally released ‘Beyond Abysmal Thresholds‘ (2019) wherein the weight and the detail on that addendum now hits entirely different without losing its stylistic connection with their follow-up (‘Impetus of Death‘, 2018). Despite scouring all manner of archive I’d apparently not reviewed that second record despite appreciating its cavernous and miserably stated hellscape today. Either way, I was definitely an “their earlier stuff was better” asshole until ‘Succumb to Rot‘ finally found the right angle to slap it out of me, over and over again. That’d be my first major takeaway, beyond being stunned to shit at the incredible W. Smerdulak cover artwork to start, that Corpsessed have pivoted in just the right way that it’d shocked me out of my own skin how much of an ecstatic event its pummeling manages to be.

This record isn’t just about relenting to the natural order of decay, though, as their discourse on the best-evidenced universal law of death is parlayed by way of brilliantly stylized dueling weaponry. Setting one neck pick-up snapped tone in percussive clattering reap beside a gouge-panned second channel of irregularly creeping lows… eh, look, the rhythm guitar tones sound something fierce without a too-fat load of layers, providing stunning dimensional voicing to their now slightly more doomed, still patiently molten hiss to their riffcraft. Leads scrawl, dive, and whittle away in expert pairing with these rhythms as to accentuate the morbid atmospheric pulse of their songwriting rather than to distract from it with any needless flash. Brief opener “Succumb to Rot” sets it all in motion with these tools ready-sharpened, kicking off with a salvo very similar to that which had opened “Crypt Infester” from the bands first EP, a brief hit of a Carcass‘ “Buried Dreams” style intro as if they’d activated some sort of latent muscle memory and began killing from that point on. From their we can look beyond strong sound design and absolutely ideal riffcraft and appreciate ‘Succumb to Rot‘ as a record wherein Corpsessed appear to be taking stock of their most effective ideas, focusing on a well-rounded yet distinctly doom atmospheric render and best recalling their original purpose alongside a stronghold of influences they’ve been carrying very well for the last decade. In this sense we are getting the best ‘self’ from these fellowes and without a moment of hesitation as the opener gives way to the rousing album-representative “Relentless Entropy”, a lyrical and musical mission statement for the album in stunning entrance.

Side A concludes in an colossal vortex as “Spiritual Malevolence” foams, spasms and whorls its creeping death-doom progression and wields it in a way that fans of Desecresy should appreciate up front, one of many prime examples of brutality being expertly modulated between slower grinding lead guitar moulded motion and the sort of call-and-response of Bolt Thrower influenced death metal from the mid-to-late 90’s a la ‘Enter the Realm of Death‘. “Calling Void” provides some reinforcement of this as we pass on to Side B. Impressed as I was at this point in the running order it isn’t until “Sublime Indignation” heaved itself upon me that I was blown away. This monstrosity of the lot, with its ‘The Karelian Isthmus‘ accented melodic leads and barrel-chested lumbering movement reeks so richly of Finnish death’s true essence, a certain liquid morbidity which’d put me in rare form wheeling back and hitting the ‘repeat’ button on the song as I’d burnt through my first several listens. The gist of it as that all eight of these songs have been crafted, considered and performed without a wasted or cursory second with each arm of the beast pulling its weight towards the holistic scouring ‘Succumb to Rot’ provides the mind. With that said, though, “Pneuma Akatharos” is one of the best songs Corpsessed have written to date for my own taste, its explosive drumming around ~1:32 minutes in catching me off-guard in the best way possible upon first encounter. It is a rare case of a band putting everything on the table to kick off the album’s presentation and finding a natural narrative within their riffcraft that carves a pathway from start to finish and, yeah, they end this album with the roar of a fuckin’ nuclear event.

Solve et coagula. The artwork, the sound design, the succinct and well-set running order, their intensely stated stylistic point of view, those abyss echoing leads and the trepanning harass of their riffcraft — Corpsessed have slabbed-out an undeniably top-tier death metal album in ‘Succumb to Rot‘, a righteously representative full package that’d left me dumbfounded and seeing stars with each successive spin. A very high recommendation.

Very high recommendation. (93/100)

Rating: 9 out of 10.
TITLE:Succumb to Rot
LABEL(S):Dark Descent Records
RELEASE DATE:April 22nd, 2022

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