(Andy Synn reviews the new second album by Australia’s Earth Rot.)
As much as some people hate it, I find making comparisons between bands to be very useful when writing reviews, as they help me to set the reader/listener on the right path, and allow me to put them in the right frame of mind when listening to a new album.
But picking and choosing the right references to make is more of an art than a science, and inferring what other bands may have influenced a certain artist is more complex still.
Case in point, during a recent conversation about the heavy influence of Dismember and early Entombed (particularly in their cutting, buzzsaw-through-bone guitar tone) I hear when listening to Earth Rot, two of the band’s members happened to chime in to inform me that, as a matter of fact, none of them are massive fans of either group, and would all consider both Dark Funeral and Emperor to have had a much greater impact on their sound than anything from the Stockholm scene!
Like I said, it’s an art, not a science…
Still, now that it’s been made painfully clear I have absolutely no idea what I’m talking about, what else can I actually say about Renascentia?
Well, regardless of where its sound comes from and what the band’s influences are, the ten tracks which make up their sophomore album are all (to a greater or lesser extent) more than worthy of all the praise they’ve been receiving thus far, delivering a hellishly addictive blend of ravenous riffs and gargantuan, gut-wrenching grooves in just over thirty-six minutes of morbid metallic mayhem.
Interestingly enough, opener “Terraform” immediately puts me in mind of Ruination-era Job For A Cowboy (and that’s not meant as an insult by any means), with its mix of frenzied blastery and scything tremolo work (not to mention vocalist Jared Bridgeman’s bloody, gristle-chewing growl, which bears more than a passing resemblance to that of JFAC’s Jonny Davy).
However, the song also possesses a much more old-school undercurrent to it, with a sense of grim, relentless groove that recalls Grave/Entombed/Dismember in style, along with a knack for bleak (and, yes, ever so slightly “blackened”) melody that pays dividends by the time the song grinds itself to a conclusion less than three minutes later.
From here on the Aussie antagonists simply hit you with one heavy, hook-filled blast of pure, primal Death Metal after another, from the Bloodbath-esque bombast of “The Ancient Fire” and the menacingly majestic “Waves of the Blackest Mire” (whose understated, but razor-sharp, technicality really gives the ferocious fretwork of Tom Waterhouse and Colin Dickie a chance to shine) to the multi-pronged assault of “Bestial Shadow Forest” (which, again, in places recalls Arizona’s favourite rawhide riffmongers, albeit with a much rougher, grimier edge).
For all its seemingly straightforward, pull no punches and take no prisoners nature, however, Renascentia isn’t afraid to throw a few unexpected curve-balls and roundhouses into the mix, such as the doomy undercurrents which swirl and simmer beneath the surface of “Anachronous Oath” or the scintillating (and wholly unexpected) Spanish(?) guitar that crowns the fantastic second half of “Funeral Pyre”… though perhaps the less said about Jorgen Munkeby’s (Shining) out-of-left-field appearance on “The Bones That Lay Beneath The Earth” the better.
Still, by the time that the climactic “Unfurled, The Cover of Darkness” reaches its surprisingly epic finale, it’s obvious that Renascentia is – above and beyond any of the comparisons I’ve made above – a real winner, effortlessly combining Old-School style and modern aesthetics into one taut, tightly-wound package of grim and groovy Death Metal delights.
Renascentia is out now and can be streamed in full below, along with the video for “Waves of the Blackest Mire“. The album is avalable on Bandcamp:
Earth Rot on Facebook: