Review Summary: Pejoratives need not apply.
The old-school trappings of death metal has certainly seen a measurable level of resurgence over the last decade. With magnates like Tomb Mold dropping Planetary Clairvoyance
or Fetid’s Steeping Corporeal Mess
(just to name-drop a couple from this year alone) there’s an air of expectation that comes with the release of Cerebral Rot’s debut full-length. Odious Descent Into Decay
may not stand as tall as the two examples above (because let’s face it, that would be a hard sell), instead, Odious Descent Into Decay
is the no-frills, blackened heart that promises a filthy good time without overstaying its welcome.
The album’s opening immediately sets a tone of bowel-loosening death after a few nonchalant acoustic meanderings. Touches of melody fleet across the title track and seep well into “Swamped In Festering Excrementia”. It’s hauntingly repulsive (but in every positive meaning of the phrase) just how these guys can bring such down to earth musicianship and dowse it in every crucible to which the death metal genre is known for, without losing themselves to unworldly technicality or progressive tropes. It’s brutal, forceful and bludgeoning in the best possible ways and yet it’s interesting and in places downright catchy. It’s a little unfair perhaps that Cerebral Rot’s attributes are also part of its own restriction. Because of the sheer straight-forwardness, true-to-roots soundscapes Odious Descent Into Decay
drops in slabs, there’s nothing that particularly stands out or transcends the norms to which this death metal powerhouse and it's genre cater. Sure the melodic leads and frenetic riff placement are designed a certain way, providing a nice touch on the gurgle and roll of Cerebral Rot’s debut. But they remain exactly that - - nice touches, completely expected and nothing more. “Sardonic Reoentence” for example, lumbers ungently into the fray, but doesn’t stand out any further than its plodding bass lines allow. The organic approach here is both the band’s gracing… and (through no direct fault of their own) its Achilles' heel.
In light of this, it’s the album’s overall brevity that makes up for its rather simplistic approach to crunched grooves and chasm-born double bass. The forty-five minutes of technically sound yet straight-forward classic death sounds like a short stroll, chock-full of healthy guitar tone and nasty (but oh so pleasurable) guitar riff-ology. As a whole, Odious Descent Into Decay
sounds like it was developed in the bowels of a cavern with only a stench of rot to guide them to the studio to which Cerebral Rot unleash their deathened sermon. Odious Descent Into Decay
a more than solid release, with every potential of becoming slightly underrated within its time.