Review Summary: New Australian masters of raucous sounds.
The more ‘extreme’ faces of Australian metal these days are almost becoming as prolific as their more mainstream counterparts. While the likes of Portal still writhe in their devastating anonymity, the likes of Xenobiotic (and this years’ Mordrake
) are quickly adding to the already talented stocks of the country’s musical front - the talent pool becomes deeper the further a listener is willing to dive. And while sweeping statements of this kind could be made about almost any nation’s heavy metal scenes (especially given the reach and power of the internet), it seems Earth Rot are ready to join in on the accolades. Despite the growing popularity of the Australian extreme metal scene, the fact that Black Tides of Obscurity
is the band’s third studio full-length stands at odds with the decidedly small fan base to which they cater. Hailing from Perth, in the country’s west, Earth Rot’s third effort is a devastating mix of blackened death metal which tumults and saunters while infusing the genre’s overall penchant for old-school vibes - keeping in line with death metal’s tendency to stay with the flavour of the month.
Even in the album’s opening track, “Dread Rebirth” hints at light melancholia before slamming the listener quickly back into place. The band’s riffs quickly lock into the listeners' state of mind by use of often falling into consistent grooves and onslaughts of double bass. But the main see here is the ability to saunter into a melodic lead or a catchy clean while making it sound naturally heavy. It’s a theme that continues along the album’s length. It’s with this in mind that “Unparalleled Gateways To Higher Obliteration” and “Ancenstral Vengeance” remain rather vehemently toxic throughout. Both of these tracks take the significant black metal style leanings of Earth Rot and transform these influences into equal parts devastation, furor and melody. With each turn, Earth Rot’s Black Tides of Obscurity
finds new ways to throw distortion and groove into a wall. Most times, the wall becomes obliterated, but others (interestingly enough) stick well to the listeners’ sense of replay value. Take the rather infectious southern grooves that course through “The Cape Of Storms” back half which turns Black Tides of Obscurity
’s molten blackened death themes and transforms them into what’s possibly the best black n’ roll riffs the listener will hear this year.
From here, Black Tides of Obscurity
does meander into a blurry matter of death growls and riff abuse. “Serpent’s Ocean” and “Mind Killer” unfortunately fall into a world of audible fatigue, failing to achieve the same initial values as the tracks found before them. Sure, there’s nothing inherently wrong with what the tail end of Earth Rot’s third full-length has to offer - but as the listener nears the end of the record’s forty-six minute this particular schtick doesn’t achieve the same levels of devastation, or have the same diverse impact on the album’s listener. Rather, the abundance of quality found in the record’s first half more than makes up for the change of intensity found in the second half - but doesn’t quite fix the interest fatigue.
Overall these Aussies should be proud of what they’ve accomplished on their third outing. If nothing else, Black Tides of Obscurity
should be the band’s launching pad to a larger fan base as the group’s 2020 piece ticks a lot the right boxes in this modern age of metal. Regardless of what you think bands should
sound like heading into this new era of extreme metal, Earth Rot are moving well into the right area and moving into the same measurable conversations as their fellow countrymen. Black Tides of Obscurity
is a great album steeped in deathly old-school vibes and near constant shifts in diversity. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely acceptable when considered against its peers and the larger genre.