Review Summary: I've got a message for you, and you're not going to like it. Pray for death.
2019 is proving to be an interesting year when it comes to old school death metal. Bands such as Tomb Mold, Krypts, Superstition, Abyssal or Nucleus, have all released lethal material that has certainly pleased much of the ever-demanding and conservative OSDM community. With an album and two EPs under their belt, Portland's death squad Witch Vomit enters second half of the year eager to prove it also deserves a prominent place in the restricted murky death circle. Starting as a two piece act, with guitarist/vocalist T.T. and drummer V.V, the band soon showed predilection for Scandinavian chainsaw aesthetics, merging it with the American style reminiscent of Autopsy or Incantation. If the first EP The Webs of Horror
, with its Sunlight Studios-esque sound, clearly leans towards the European side, the full-length debut A Scream from the Tomb Below
gives greater visibility to Witch Vomit's native influences, something that will last in their 2017 release Poisoned Blood
, that marks the beginning of a new stage for the band, now signed to 20 Buck Spin, which also distributes PNW's acts Fetid and Cerebral Rot.
Released at the end of July, the first glimpse of the new album, "Dripping Tombs", left me genuinely excited. This track manages to bring perfectly together the fusion of styles I mentioned earlier, pushing Witch Vomit's sound to the next level. The band now seems more balanced and focused than ever before, just like a fully grown predator that hunts its prey faster and more effectively. Everything seemed to indicate that Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave
would be doomed to be a triumphant effort, and in fact it didn't take long to realise that it would actually meet expectations. The opener "From Rotten Guts" burst out of the grave with all its venomous, putrid fury, spreading decaying chaos everywhere. This first killing blends the energetic OSDM murky formula of the first single, with thrash signatures reminiscent of Sodom's Agent Orange, and anything that reminds me of that Teutonic war classic, always deserves extra credit. The exploration of the bottomless tomb continues with "Despoilment", one of my favorite tracks, much due to the initial riff and Slayer-esque solo, which are among the best moments of the album. This song also has the peculiarity of ending with a quote from Carpenter's supernatural horror movie 'Prince of Darkness', transcribed in my summary. This quote also serves as a bridge to the short-lived title track which, as expected, aims to bury the listener seven feet below, a goal gruesomely fulfilled in its entirety. It's in the deep darkness that we go blindly ahead until we hit "Dead Veins," which closes with the doomest and most melodic moment of the album, reminiscent of Paradise Lost's early years. This tuneful part contrasts with the relentless "Dripping Tombs" which is easily one of the album's highlights, and probably the track that can best synthesize the band's sound in 2019. We're now grimly crawling into the final chapters of this nightmare, that ends with the instrumental "Squirming in Misery" and "Fumes of Dying Bodies", which cover our grave with the last layers of putrid mud, thus making sure we don't have a chance to crawl back up. Forever buried.
Buried Deep In A Bottomless Grave
is an endless hole, dug by a band at its prime. It's focused, well produced and to the point. It manages to keep genre's early spirit alive, while adding modern old school aesthetics that makes it relevant, contemporary, and most certainly one of the most interesting death metal albums of 2019.