When Seattle’s Cerebral Rot burst onto the death metal scene with their fantastic 2019 debut Odious Descent Into Decay, their sound replicated the sensation and contour of wading through a bog, slowly finding it harder to move as you sink into the ooze. So how do you follow up a record that feels like your head is below some thick sludge and you can’t breathe? You inject hatred and venom into it, to give you the strength to rise back up and take another breath – and this is the recipe for their new record Excretion Of Mortality.
This new offering from Cerebral Rot has arguably upped the energy and refined their focus. This isn’t to say the band has stepped away from the doom and dirge which gained they notoriety in the first place, more they’re offering denser compositions, sick grooves and some blinding drum fills. There seems to be an almost methodical approach to how the band has structured this record; from the opening track “Excretion of Mortality” right through to the album closer “Crowning the Disgustulent (Breed of Repugnance)” there don’t seem to be any missed steps from the band. The use of repetition in the riffs is just right, neither too many nor too few, the constant anchoring rhythm of the drums, everything just seems to click into place on this record. The title track opens with a spinning riff which seems to just roll around inside your head forever, accentuated with percussion stabs. But once the growling vocals kick in properly the pace quickens and Cerebral Rot are off to the races.
In a year when we have already heard some great death metal records from the likes of Frozen Soul and Gatecreeper, Cerebral Rot have clearly put their stake to the crown as one of the genre’s top-tier bands right now. They know when to slow things down like on the track “Spewing Purulence”, where vocalist / guitarist Ian Schwab brings proceedings to a crawl with his demonic growl, before the band hurtles forward once again. But it is the all-out assault of “Bowels of Decrepitude” where Cerebral Rot really show what they’re made of, with drummer Drew O’Bryant clearly demonstrating the essential role of his position.
And to add a cherry on top, Cerebral Rot seem to be aware that for some people the typical vocal tone that is used in death metal may not be to everyone’s liking so Schwab uses his vocals sparingly and only ever to enhance a song, not to outstay its welcome. Yes, Cerebral Rot has some of the (to our eyes beautifully) repulsive themes and aesthetics which go along with the genre. But musically this is a masterclass in modern death metal and is a band really stepping into their own.
Excretion of Mortality is out via 20 Buck Spin on June 25th and can be ordered here.
Words: Tim Birkbeck