For Fans Of
Speak to any Australian music fan and it’s generally acknowledged that bands from the Western Australian fringe just do things… differently.
Whether it’s due to their sheer isolation, or proximity to the Indian Ocean, we don’t exactly know why. But for those of us on the populous East Coast of this fair continent, our Western brethren have been responsible for birthing some of the country’s best musical offerings and the realm of metal is definitely no exception to this phenomenon.
After teasing fans with last year’s ‘Chthonian Virtues’ EP, Perth’s best blackened death metal outfit Earthrot have returned with their highly-anticipated second album, ‘Renascentia,’ which acts as the full-length follow-up to their 2014 debut, ‘Follow The Black Smoke’. Recorded by Sam Allen and vocalist Jared Bridgeman at Electric City Studios, and mixed by Erik Rutan (Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel) at Mana Recording Studios, Florida, ‘Renascentia’ capitalises on the band’s established sound and delivers ten tracks of dark, heavy and utterly filthy death metal.
As opener ‘Terraform’ kicks in, the listener is immediately confronted by frenetic blast beats and guttural vocals which slide and churn against rhythmic grooves and sharp, angular lead riffs. ‘The Ancient Fire’ and single ‘Waves of the Blackest Mire’ provide fitting soundtracks for a blood-soaked, sacrificial altar, creeping along with brief, hardcore punk-influenced drum fills and rumbling bass. Tracks like ‘Anachronous Oath’ and ‘Panoptic Terror’ continue this sonic onslaught, with duelling guitars battling for supremacy as Bridgeman’s caustic vocals are drenched in reverb, lending his screeches demonic and ethereal qualities. The four-piece’s blackened influences shine through on these tracks, alongside moments of stomping, HM-2 Entombed worship and soaring dive-bombs.
Just around the half-way mark is where things take an unsuspecting turn with the haunting instrumental ‘The Bones That Lay Beneath The Earth’. There’s a delicate hint of moody, background vocals – with an almost post-punk sheen – that swim against sumptuous low-end noodling, all before the track is swallowed whole by the abyss and we’re suddenly awash in a jazzy saxophone solo courtesy of Jørgen Munkeby from Norway’s blackjazz masters Shining (seriously, click the link and tell me that isn’t some of weirdest and trippy shit you’ve ever seen a band do live). It’s the kind of unexpected gem that elevates an otherwise stop-gap, filler track into a real, stand-out moment on ‘Renascentia’.
The record then moves into some of the strongest tracks on offer, with the melodic and playful ‘Bestial Shadow Forest’ that grooves and bends with a fantastic lead riff and an absolutely punishing, mid-section barrage. ‘Funeral Pyre’ continues Earthrot’s penchant for experimentation, with a blazing solo that gives way to a passage of acoustic guitar that borders on wild flamenco playing, before the cymbals count the band back in for a festive yet heavy finale. ‘Condemned To The Grave’ sounds like death metal meets foot-to-the-floor rock’n’roll, in a way that would make Lemmy (RIP) rise with a grin on his face. And on closer ‘Unfurled, The Cover of Darkness’ Earthrot pull out all the stops, with progressive licks and droning instrumental passages that tops a five-minute run-time, as the record comes to an end with fading, wrung-out guitar notes.
It’s great to see a band like Earthrot succeed where so many others fail, especially in heavy music: staying true to your origins, forging a unique sound, and successfully incorporating dynamic (and oftentimes eccentric) influences. With great songwriting and strong performances, and that’s not mentioning the diabolical album artwork, ‘Renascentia’ improves heavily on its predecessor and ensures that Earthrot will remain the darkest and filthiest of Australia’s blackened death metal exports.
- The Ancient Fire
- Waves of the Blackest Mire
- Anachronous Oath
- Panoptic Terror
- The Bones That Lay Beneath The Earth
- Bestial Shadow Forest
- Funeral Pyre
- Condemned to the Grave
- Unfurled, The Cover of Darkness