Jul 122022

We liked the Romanian death metal band Rotheads before hearing a single note, thanks to Comrade Aleks‘ engaging June 2022 interview here with guitarist/vocalist Bogdan. He comes across as down-to-earth, unpretentious, and intelligent, very matter-of-fact in his discussion of the band’s history and approach to the music and the lyrics, but with an unmistakable and contagious enthusiasm. We hoped the music would be equally engaging — and thankfully, it is.

What we have in front of us now is Rotheads‘ second album, Slither In Slime, which is set for release on July 25th by the Memento Mori label. Compared to the band’s full-length debut (2018’s Sewer Fiends), it still displays the influence of the early ’90s Finnish scene, melded with other classicists from the Swedish and American old schools, but as Bogdan relates in the interview, it sounds more like a studio album and less like a demo. It’s ugly and twisted, to be sure, but with a sharper and more calculating sound, and the songwriting more powerfully creates creepy and crypt-borne atmospheres as the band crush and careen their way through these tracks.

Moreover, the lyrical themes are less wholly derived from episodes of horror and gore than you might expect. There is, for example, one song on Slither in Slime that drew inspiration from scenes in in a space opera by the wonderful Peter F. Hamilton, and another is something out of the Malazan series by Steven Erikson. Yet another seems to be a kind of sarcastic commentary on “bands and writers rehashing the whole Transylvanian vampire theme”.

Having said that, the album does include a song called “Gore Coffin“, and it’s the one we’re premiering today.

Gore Coffin” is six minutes long, which was something of a surprise. When we think about a rotten death metal band growling about gore and coffins, we expect something in the three- or four-minute range, i.e., something relatively short and nasty, with no frills. So what’s going on here?

It turns out that a lot is going on. The rhythm guitar and bass tones are deep, down-tuned, and bowel-churning, but the lead guitar has a high, piercing, ringing tone and a mercurial movement in the midst of that heaving and churning heaviness. Moreover, the tempo changes as the band accelerate into spasms of madness, with the drums clattering and the riffage becoming a feverish, skittering menace. Similarly the vocals (which appropriately echo as if emanating from a crypt) rise up from gruesome guttural proclamations to gagging screams.

That eerie lead guitar continues to ring out in weird and wondrous fashion, slithering, swirling, and quivering as the music cavorts like a demon fiend that’s frolicking and mauling, or some kind of mad juggernaut on a destructive rampage. The drumming veers among rhythmic patterns in attention-seizing fashion, and the band do a good job jackhammering your skull as well.

The minutes pass, and the energy of the song is so compulsive that you probably wouldn’t guess that six of them go by before the song ends. It’s a damned addictive track too.

Slither In Slime is graced by the macabre cover art of Mörtuus, and it was mastered by Ted Tringo. For more info about the release and how to pick it up, check the links below.



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