Album Review: Earth Rot – Black Tide of Obscurity 9.8 (Black/Death)

Written by Alex

  • Earth Rot
  • Black Tide of Obscurity
  • Black/Death
  • Perth, Australia
  • Season Of Mist (CD, Vinyl, Digital + Merch)
  • March 6, 2020
  • Score – 9.8/10

I’m sort of angry that no one ever told me about this band before. It’s got everything I love and nothing I don’t. The album is tailor made to my music taste and I’ve been sitting around like a dumbass not even knowing this band existed. This record has easily made it up among my favorite extreme metal records this year and Earth Rot are finding a comfortable spot in my regular rotation.

These guys are a blackened death metal band but of a slightly more melodic and at times atmospheric variety. The sound of this record is definitely more into death metal territory than black metal but the black metal influence is still there to be heard. I don’t know if it’ll make sense to anyone but me but when I first listened to this, I immediately had the thoughts; ‘Gatecreeper but make it black metal’ and ‘Vitriol but make it fun’ in that order.

The instrumentation throughout the record has caught a nice balance between technicality and the good ol’ caveman riffs. It’s this balance and the underlying groove of the record that make it so much fun. I don’t think I’ve ever described a blackened death metal record as being fun before but there’s a first for everything. The guitars have a distinctly black metal inflection to them while the rhythm section sits more on the death metal side of the fence. With black metal lately, I’ve been having a hard time enjoying it. It’s a genre that tends to take itself too seriously and that can leech the fun out of it. This record is a breath of fresh air in that in that I’m able to have fun while listening and it doesn’t seem as self-serious, if you catch what I’m getting at.

Earth Rot: Bandcamp (Artist exclusive merch) / Facebook / Instagram

The vocals are near flawless throughout the record. There’s honestly nothing I can fault them on. The vocalist has a varied range and techniques that he uses to the fullest. You’re going to get a nice grimy growl one second, a full on shriek the next, and then top it all off with a nice clear mid to rough things out. The handling of the vocals in the mix is also phenomenal. They somehow manage to sound clear and crisp while also sitting a little further back in the mix than you would expect. It gives the record a cool old school feel to it without sacrificing any of the excellent production quality.

There’s a great variety to the music that can be hard to find within this genre. I find with blackened death, you can find a lot of bands emulating or straight up copying bands like Behemoth and Belphegor. Earth Rot don’t fall into this hole at all. They’ve got all the hallmarks; blast beat, tremolo picking, a cold atmosphere, but they’ve taken those things and made it their own with this record. I love that this record sounds like an Earth Rot record and nothing else, that I can’t mistake the sound as some other band. I just really can’t say enough good things about the album

The only thing holding me back from just rating it a straight up 10 is that you’re given small tastes of the atmospheric elements instead of it being a fully-fledged part of the record. This doesn’t make any real difference to my enjoyment of the record, I just love atmospheric music and can always do with a little more of it. I really have no important critiques or complaints for this record though. I don’t care what type of metal fan you are, this record is for you and you need to hear it. It’s that good.

9.8/10

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