What, you may ask, is a tabouret? And what does it have to do with rope and soap, or for that matter with death metal? A partial answer can be found at the end of this writing, but much of this fine new album’s title might still remain a mystery. There is, however, no mystery about why the music is so damned good. One listen will prove that, which is what we’re giving you the chance to experience today.
Unlike the words in the album title, Stranguliatorius isn’t one you’ll find in the dictionary, though in its own mouth-mutilating way it’s just as clever and intriguing as the album’s name. The Lithuanian barbarians who chose it as their appellation are damned clever songwriters, too, though it must be said (as their label reports) that they are thirsty for blood and hungry for flesh.
Rope, Soap, Tabouret is the second album by Stranguliatorius, and the first for their new label, Horror Pain Gore Death Productions. It will be released on December 28th, just soon enough to make your New Year’s Eve an especially filthy and raucous night. In achieving their nefarious ends the band have concocted a toxic brew of old school death metal, grindcore, doom, and d-beat crust, stewing the ingredients together in a way that makes each song a dynamic affair, both in their changing tempos and rhythms and in their stylistic variety.
Within the flow of the songs you’ll encounter beefy chugs and bursts of tremolo’d viciousness; ringing anthemic chords and slogs of moaning misery; all of it bound together by a razor-sharp drum performance that’s not showy but always seems astutely calculated to push and pull the thrust of the music in just the right way; and all of it further united by the gruesomeness of the vocal expressions, which range from ugly, cold-blooded, belly-deep roars to noxious, blood-thirsty howls and scalding shrieks.
There are plenty of headbangable grooves to be found in these distorted concoctions, as well as many opportunities to scamper like a blitzed punk or maul like a mad bull, and the grisly melodic hooks that the band insert have a way of catching in your head. Every now and then (most notably at the outset of “Executioner’s Lament”), the band segue into a dismal, dragging momentum, with riffing that creates an atmosphere steeped in the stench of plague and sepulchral decay. And there are a few other surprises lurking in the shadows as well — such as the cavalcade of strange noises and creepy vocal samples over a slow heart-beat thump and waves of electronic pulsation that forms the intro to “Dream Of An Anthropologist.
That long song at the end, “Unrepeatable Ritual of Death”, provides the last surprise, coming to a full stop after its first third, followed by a moment of silence as a prelude to the hallucinatory electronic sequence that consumes the bulk of the song’s minutes.
HPGD Productions recommends the album for fans of early Carcass, Coffins, Anatomia, Haemorrhage, Impetigo, Asphyx, Unleashed, Autopsy, and Bolt Thrower — and I’ll add that I was often reminded of the death-crustier manifestations of Acephalix. I enjoyed the hell out of what Stranguliatorius have achieved here, and hope you will, too.
P.S. A tabouret is a low stool or small table, which if slicked with soap might provide a useful launching point for the drop to the end of that rope around your neck.