Review Summary: A death metal gem swallowed up by Father Time
You can almost taste the stale beer and smell the mold on the walls of the North Carolina basement where this was (probably) recorded. I like to believe these guys got kicked out of a show at their local VFW on a Friday night, walked home, smoked a bowl, and laid down every track in one night down in the drummer’s dumpy studio setup. Aside from the gothic organ & religious sound clip intro, it’s just 29 minutes of unfiltered mayhem. The instrumental performances are actually fantastic and each band member is obviously proficient in his craft, but a “single-take” attitude shines through in just about every song. Little production flaws crawl out from the floorboards on occasion, but they only add to the record’s charm. In fact, we’re lucky to even have this record at all; it was nearly buried in the pile of now-defunct old school death metal acts until Hammerhead Records re-released it and published it to streaming services. I can only imagine they were urged to do so after the track “Corpus Rottus” made an appearance in Jeremy Saulnier’s 2015 thriller Green Room
, which may have given this band an unexpected breath of life.
Given how early this album was birthed in the 90s death metal scene, it’s hard to say which bands Corpus Rottus drew the most influence from. The vocalist spews out gruff, stunted growls haphazardly throughout the album’s brief stay, in the same vein as Suffocation - whose debut album also dropped in 1991. The balance between riffing and soloing prevents any track from being too predictable, and even the bass gets a few moments to shine (a rare treat for bands of this breed in this time). The lo-fi production has a warm and organic quality to it, which can be likened to other lesser-known gems like Infester. But this album predates Infester’s sole album by several years. Even Cannibal Corpse was practically unknown at the time. These guys were digging into a style that was very much still in its infant stage, and the best part is that I truly don’t think they gave a ***.
Rituals of Silence
is one of the many obscure metal records to be dwarfed by all the other bands that struck gold at just the right time. Perhaps the band’s impractical location cut them off from the networking potential that countless New York groups used to their advantage. It’s also just as likely that they burned these tracks onto 50 blank discs and handed them out for free when they opened for Suffocation and Ripping Corpse in New Jersey nearly 30 years ago, expecting it fade into obscurity by the end of the year. Either way, there’s no denying that these gentlemen deserved more than what their Spotify stream numbers would imply. It really makes one wonder how many other talented young acts had everything it took but failed to play their songs to the right ears, depriving themselves of any real legacy to carry past the turn of the century.