- Void Rot
- Descending Pillars
- Death Doom on the deathier side
- Minnesota, USA
- September 11, 2020
- Everlasting Spew Records/ Sentient Ruins Laboratories
A pinch on the arse this record is, a solid helping of death doom with an emphasis on the death. I’ve been waiting for this one, waiting. Unfortunately for the rest of you rubes, September is when you’ll be hearing this beast in its entirety. I’d go ahead and call this a safe bet for pre-order, not only does it sound good but you can gauge your expectations by checking out their previous output, a Void Rot/Atavisma split out earlier in 2020 via Everlasting Spew. That split set a tone that I wanted more of, and here it is!
The harsher side of death doom has really spoken to me since hearing 2019’s Mortifierum album. I know that’s new shoes but it’s where I entered with a fuller grasp of the style and since then I have enjoyed everything like it. Void Rot is very much in the same boat with the darker cadence and death vocals that take the wheel over doomy atmospherics or the traditionally clean vocal style in doom metal. This is something with more of an edge than most doom adjacent genres and with that edge comes a satisfying bite worthy of reminding you that this is indeed a creature worthy of respect within this ecosystem of bands. I’ve heard a lot in 2020, some of the bands are like fucking tiny rabbit shits and then there’s this whole world of apex predators that doesn’t even regard the rest unless it’s for a meal. I dig the predators, they’re few and far between these days in an age when being facetious is the norm.
I suppose this is the point where I reveal what exactly is contained within Descending Pillars rather than gratituously felattio the album for paragraphs on end. The thing is, if there’s much innovation here, I’m too stupid to realise it. The strength of this album lies far more in consistency of tone and overall audio thesis than in terms of techniques or emerging conventions. It very much sticks to a 90’s style of slower death metal that dirges on and on without letting up. It’s a different kind of brutal that’s doesn’t quite hammer in you the face but will confront you over time like the realisation of death on a not so distant horizon.
The general gist of things is down toned death metal with dissonant doom aspects that generally create a combined sense of urgency and immense. A lot of ground is covered by the drummer on this one who does well to capitalise on key moments but also keep everything in line by maintaining a tight through line that cuts through everything else as a kind of bottom line. It’s a good kit with good sounds and a good drummer, put in a song writing structure that really requires their input. This is the best you can ask for considering the irreverent sound of it all. It’s a lot of work without the glory of showing off. Expect everything from the riffs to the vocals to have a downward quality or motion, where everything carries with a sense of “sinking”. Don’t expect any emerging.
September is a bit of a wait, so I apologise for whetting your whistle too early but I very much enjoy this new band and can’t help but jump the gun a bit. The first single (above), also serving as the title track, should give you a pretty decent introduction to the album. It’s almost 9 minutes long and it’s the first track. If you like it then you will like the album, and of course, the album art makes it a perfect get in terms of physical media. This piece is my favorite kind of cover right now because so many album artworks try to convey some very specific and pointed message but this one is in the category of “vaguely cool and interesting”. It’s just well done artwork that conveys a vibe more than a meaning, I’m all about it. Give me blurred images of impossible terrains in places without names and I’ll add so much more imagination to your album.
All in all it’s a solid album that treads exactly the ground it wants to tread rather than new ground breaking routes. With this in mind it also subverts a lot of the trending death metal expectations right now, especially with the OSDM scene being overrun by peeps keen to recapture the days of old, smothering childhood memories. Void Rot however have a mind of their own that isn’t restricted by influence but rather has a brain inexplicably rotted by old school sounds. It’s ye old slow doom with new technology and a modern sense of nihilism, which to me is worth so much more than most of what is coming out right now.