Review by Fernando on June 26, 2023.
Good old fashioned death metal may make a lot of people groan and roll their eyes after half a decade of revivalists and general oversaturation but despite that now receding trend beyond worthwhile bands and some stubborn acts, there’s still bands worth diving into, and one such case is the Anglo-Polish bringers of death and doom, Eternal Rot, who have returned with their third LP, Moribund, through Memento Mori and Godz Ov War.
Eternal Rot are definitely one of the better death metal bands that came out during the height of the whole “old school death metal revival” trend, although it is worth pointing out that the band play death-doom and are pretty open and unabashed about it to boot. Their first two records certainly got them noticed and with a number of outlets praising their combination of putrid and filthy doom and with grinding death metal, wherein the band proved you could be brutal with crawling riffs and steady drumming, and the gurgling vocals certainly help as well.
On their third record the band don’t deviate much from what they did before with their previous records, but that’s actually a plus because all their strong points still hold up and the band’s greatest asset is being able to make engaging and dynamic death doom. Furthermore, while no new ground is being broken here, the band do a good job of peppering some new elements, and this record in particular is much more adventurous with ambiance and subtle synths for emphasis here and there, especially with the intros of each track, a lot of very annoying people complain nonstop about “windy intros”, but Eternal Rot actually makes that ambiance congruous with each song and to great effect and to each song’s benefit. But make no mistake, even with those addons, this is still a straightforward, no filler and filthy display.
What makes Eternal Rot standout is how their style of death-doom is a perfectly balanced and synthesized sound that neither compromises, nor does it lean more often into either side. The riffs in particular of band leader and principal composer Peter Mayer display the best qualities of both doom metal and death metal, as he effortlessly switches between crunchy riffs to soaring solos, and into groove-laden fills. The basslines also follow that same balancing act, which may not sound like much because obviously in this type of music the bass can be either overpowering or diminished, but not here, it’s forceful when it needs to, and subtle when the mood calls for it. And a major factor in the music being so dynamic with the constant shift between grind and groove is the drumming of Psychoradek, who truly shines by virtue of his drumming not being typical death metal drumming, in fact, his drumming leans hard into doom metal fills and rhythms but also trad metal, and the truly impressive part of his classic heavy metal drumming is how it fits with even the most death metalish sections of songs, which shows how you can make truly brutal and overwhelming metal without blast-beats.
Finally there’s vocalist Grindak, and I mention him last because while his vocals are pretty much the same, they still work phenomenally well, particularly his gurgling growls, which are consistently ghoulish from the first song, to the last without missing a beat, or letting up. And all of that is fully brought together by the production, which is clean but very natural sounding. Whatever dark magic the band employed to make this record to sound as good as it does is commendable because it could’ve also fallen flat, but the band’s understanding of classic heavy metal dynamics really benefits both the music and the production.
The only real complaint that could be leveled against the record is the very monotonous pace and use of droning repetition, but then again, that’s also the point, the band picked a mood, stuck to it and took it to its logical conclusion, and completely devoid of any pretension or fillers. But I will say that it does take to be in a certain mood to enjoy death-doom, especially for Eternal Rot who really emphasize the doom elements. So, all in all, this record is another quality display of excellent death-doom. And if you want a break from the umpteenth “OSDM” revival band, Eternal Rot will be a more than welcomed change of pace.
Best tracks: 'Swollen Corpse Adoration', 'Desecrated Guts', 'Gestures Never Recalled'
Rating: 8.3 out of 10715