For Fans Of
Returning to us from the huge year that was 2014, Western Australian death metal exports Earth Rot have released a taste of new material in the form of EP, ‘Chthonian Virtues’. The band has been riding high off the last two years, from touring across our Great Southern Land and Asia, to being fortunate enough to get the call to open a European tour for local sensations Thy Art Is Murder and Aversions Crown. Impressive stuff. Those of you eagerly anticipating a new full-length will just have to keep digging those fingernails in but, in the meantime, you can wrap your devilish ears around this bad boy.
‘Breach Darkness’ sets the introductory stage for metallic foreboding, with the announcement of a pretty guitar lead over the top of some ominous feedback ringing, before launching directly into the cacophonous aural assault of the title track. Double kick thuds resound, while blast beats and frenetic tremolo picks blaze back and forth. Jared Bridgeman’s vocals hit with the same punch as 2014’s ‘The Black Smoke‘, with his growls commanding mid-range and high-end shrieks pairing well with the overall blackened death metal sound cultivated by the group.
‘Martyrdom Unsealed‘ switches things up with some truly eerie spoken vocals (this reviewer hesitates to call them ‘clean’, because realistically, they’re grimy as fuck), before a super melodic and plaintive lead cruises over the track. Bridgeman drops back in with the combination of low-end growls that echoes Jason Peppiatt of Psycroptic fame, and some tasty solos and grooves as background. ‘Infernal‘ is a short burst of guitar virtuosity that sounds almost like it could be another purely instrumental track. That is until the faded background vocals and pained atmospherics rise up, all before Daniel Maloney’s furious blast beats smash you square in the face.
Closer ‘Slave‘ is arguably the stand-out track here, with shredders Thomas Waterhouse and Colin Dickie teaming up for a gratuitous pile-on of hard riffs, over some slick death’n’roll drumming. It’s more of a mid-tempo rager, but it hits harder than the other four EP tracks combined, and the vocals sound positively repulsive. It’s dark; it’s heavy and it fucking works. Headbang yourself out of those shackles people!
With this release being pitched as, ‘kinda like Behemoth jamming with Entombed’, you’d be forgiven for having your interests even remotely piqued. And, for the most part, ‘Chthonian Virtues’ satisfies that curiosity, with a well-rounded, tasteful display of creative song writing and musical chops. If only serving as a taster between full-lengths for Earth Rot, this EP still has enough to wet the appetite for fans of contemporaries like Nails, Skinfather and Seven Sisters of Sleep, while nurturing the hunger for that next big record.
1. Breach Darkness
2. Chthonian Virtues
3. Martyrdom Unsealed