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The Putrefying Road: Cerebral Rot-Odious Descent Into Decay Review

The stench of this PNW death metal juggernaut will make anyone with an iron gut heave their stomach contents in pure repulsion.

Photograph by Desi Hermann

The underground death metal boom is in full swing whether you like it or not. I won't judge if you'd rather listen to Seven Churches for the billionth time. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that, but sometimes people get tired of everything sounding like heavy thrash the same way I slowly got tired of every JETHRO TULL/COVEN wannabe band being labeled as "doom metal". Aside from that, there is one thing that can unite any death metal fan from those who love the proto-stuff to the modern sound and that is SICK AS ALL GET OUT RIFFS. It's been shown over the last decade or so that people who are into death metal want riffs, whether they are manic and technical or slow and crustaceous. The latter category has been making people aware of cult death metal bands like DEMILICH, CONVULSE, NIHILIST, and ROTTREVORE while bringing newer bands indulging this sound to even greater levels of recognition. While there are many that come to mind, one truly doesn't think of the aural sound of toxic waste being ladled into your ear canal better than Seattle corpseologists CEREBRAL ROT on their debut full length Odious Descent Into Decay. Don your hazmat because this thing is way more disgusting than the cover art suggests.

From the opening title track, you know this album and band aren't going to gently lead you along; they are going to hurdle your entire existence into a festering soup of malignant filth. Frontman Ian Schwab (Crurifragium and Excarnated Entity) and guitarist Clyle Lindstrom (Fetid and Caustic Wound) deliver guitar lines and riffs like this album has a perpetual runny nose and that snotty mixture won't dissipate no matter how much saline spray you have. The riffs ooze like the queasy feeling of the Sandlot gang after dipping too much Big Chief. Like Bertram Weeks, I proclaim that like Big Chief, these riffs are *inhales deeply* THE BEST. Zach Nehl and Drew O'Bryant anchor the monstrous riffing with bass lines, fills and blast beats that come perfectly timed for maximum devastation. There are bits that make me think of how under appreciated modern death metal rhythm sections are. They made the Cessation of Life demo sound amazing through the bolstering of the bass and drums while still retaining that nasty OSDM aesthetic that everyone seems to be chasing.

Swamped in Festering Excrementia and Reeking Septic Mass pretty much speak for themselves as they writhe like a shit covered eel in the bowels of your septic tank, waiting to shoot up the toilet bowl without warning and asking you to throw on Chainsaw Dismemberment. The songs have mid-paced parts that then drop into doomy sections, recalling parts of the OBITUARY catalog without the CELTIC FROST thievery. Riffs have a way of making you feel like you have to escape something but I quite don't know what.

With all of this talk, one must have a guidepost in terms of what sonic inspiration CEREBRAL ROT are trying to convey through these vile vomitings. There are definite callbacks to Severed Survival-era AUTOPSY along with touches of melody that Reifert and Co. never really messed with on that debut, however there are parts that are utterly brutal like that of the 1989 offering. There are also very obvious comparisons to Finnish death metal of the 90's. For example, when I first heard Repulsive Infestation of Cadaver, I legit thought it was DEMILICH demo cut. It was shocking when I glanced at my phone and realized it was actually a new CEREBRAL ROT tune. Along with the DEMILICH comparisons, the production is very similar to that group in terms of analog, which can also be said about the Canadian monstrosity known as CHTHE'ILIST. If I could boil this album down to it's bare skeleton, if that hasn't already been done, it is basically this: If CHTHE'ILIST were the university educated son of DEMILICH with degrees in literature and philosophy, then CEREBRAL ROT are the twin brother with zero motivation to aspire to grand gestures. They want to make the most wretched art by taking from these great bands by putting their own unique and foul spin on it without sounding like mere pretenders. CEREBRAL ROT are the real deal in terms of bringing sonic bile to those who wish to consume with glee.

Another added plus is the fact that a majority of the band's Cessation of Life demo was re-recorded for this record. All but one song was left on the cutting room floor and the newer models of each demo track bristle with rage inducing fist pumping. Putrefaction (Eternal Decay) received a major facelift and features a ghastly breakdown that will drop jaws across the world. It's a chug that will bring smiles as you throw another poser into the swamp for the alligators to munch on. As far as the other tracks go, they also have a major upgrade in their composition but none impressed more than the redone version of Putrefaction. After multiple listens, it truly became an album highlight.

As far as criticisms go, there are really small and very superficial things that could barely be considering glaring. While the analog production is a major highlight, it also adds a bit of a handicap. The biggest issue with some analog recordings is that it can often come across as flat or a tad quiet. While I did have to up the volume every once and a while, it never seemed like a major hinderance to the listening experience, and if that's the only criticism I can levy, then I say that CEREBRAL ROT have accomplished their mission by walking a great chasm of expectations. They bring the best parts of demo era Finnish death metal and inject a slight mix of doom in order to create a brazen contender for one of the filthiest death metal records of recent memory. While we may be utterly devastated by how gross and psychologically disgusting the upcoming VASTUM record will be, CEREBRAL ROT truly add a new layer of grime to what disgusting truly means in the context of death metal in the late 2010's.

Odious Descent Into Decay is out now via 20 Buck Spin. Order yours HERE.

Cover art by Karina Monzon

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