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Death Metal Sewercide - 90%

sunn_bleach, June 14th, 2022
Written based on this version: 2019, Digital, Dismal Fate Records (Bandcamp)

It's easy to fetishize early extreme metal EPs and demos. The passage of time plus a healthy dose of obscurity provides almost a perverse bit of fun in finding the next unknown and unheralded gem. (I count this as one of my favorite hobbies.) The ubiquitous Internet has allowed so many small issues to find a new audience where even ten years ago the only way to track down so many of these was to get extremely lucky on Discogs or make the right community connections. This has led a lot of people to "rediscover" lost releases as maligned masterpieces. Sometimes that's true, and sometimes it's wishcasting.

Deteriorot is in that first category. While this band was never that obscure - they released a couple LPs and have been intermittently active ever since 1990 - they also weren't one of the bigger bands of their time and place. However, they had the luck to be formed in New Jersey and be contemporaries with acts like Incantation, Immolation, and Rottrevore. If you're familiar with any of those three bands, then you have an idea of Deteriorot: super down-tuned, mid-paced death metal with hollow, deep vocals. "Cavernous", if you're feeling spunky.

Out of all Deteriorot's nineties output, by far their best work is this 1993 single. The original two tracks here are two of the most crotch-crushingly massive death metal recordings of the early nineties. Though Deteriorot had been a demo-only band until this point, both songs have amazing recording fidelity where the intensity/brutality of this kind of acidic death metal is matched by layered guitar distortion plus front-and-center vocals. "The Afterlife" features a slightly reverbed solo toward the end that straddles the line between early Morbid Angel chaos and ever so slight melody before crushing back into the death/doom fray. It's awesome! And the break on "Manifested Apparitions of Unholy Spirits" brings out slow tritone squelches that you have to listen for.

Deteriorot is a little bit of a "what if" band; I would've loved to hear what an LP of 1993 Deteriorot sounds like. This mired filth is like what bands such as Contaminated try so hard to hit, let alone the wealth of Incantation-inspired death/doom from the 2010s. The vocals are so deep - comparable to Rottrevore and Baphomet - and they perfectly act as another percussive instrument. The track "Manifested Apparitions of Unholy Spirits" features a warbly synthesizer bit toward the bridge. It's simple but unsettling - and plenty of modern bands like Apochryphal Revelation have tried to capture the same aesthetic. Both songs have excellent percussion as well, which alternates on the slower parts between a simple kick-drum beat and double-bass triplets. It's a good example of "less is more" in death metal percussion; sometimes a steady roll is all you need.

Contemporary versions of the single feature three more tracks. "Ritual Ceremonies of Blasphemous Horror" comes from a 1991 recording session. It's a bit rougher in production than the other tracks, which is to be expected given it's from completely different (and older) sessions. This is straight-up faster death metal, but still works for Deteriorot and provides a nice counter to the slower death/doom. The other two tracks are live recordings from shows in 2016 and 2017. They're pretty rough; just skip them.

If you're into nineties death metal, then you should absolutely try this out. Two tracks of incredible death/doom, and the unreleased track holds its own in putrid meat. You can hear even earlier versions of the main two on the band's 1992 demo, but this release is where it's at.

Manifested unholiness in musical form - 80%

psiguen, March 13th, 2014

I normally used to like almost every Drowned Productions' release, and this one is not an exception. I always felt quite lucky about living in Madrid, and having the chance to go buying directly in their physical store (later on, I felt just the same about Repulse Recs.).

This band sounds pretty similar to Incantation. I'm not really much a fan of Incantation (in fact I only listened to their 2 first albums, but I'm catching up on it, I promise...), but it was the first band who came into my mind when I first listened to Deteriorot. I don't really think they are a clone of Incantation, but the influence and similarities are undeniable. Mostly slow-paced, nearly doomy sections (although it's not the same boring doomy riffs played to the nausea, unlike most doom bands) with powerful deep growling vocals, really similar to Craig Pillard's is what we find here, but that's not all. There are faster sections here and there as well, and I also find some old-school influences, mostly in the rhythmical patterns. Bands like Morbid Angel, old Obituary, the aforementioned Incantation or even the spanish Fermento (mostly because of the vocals) come to my mind when listening to Deteriorot.

The EP starts with an obvious short synth intro like shivering ghostly voices, pretty typical in the style during these years, then it starts "The Afterlife". What we find rhythmically in the 2 tracks this EP contains is basically slow-paced rhythmical patterns, although there's a nice variation of speed during the tracks from a nearly doomy slow pace to a furious fast one, with some varied tempos in between.

Concerning the guitar work, it's quite simple: highly distorted power-chords, slow and simply structured guitar riffs with some sped-up sections in the chorus, and some scattered harmonics here and there (well, pinch harmonics back then were usually played, but only to emphasise some intense or punctual moments, as oppossite as nowadays, that it seems pinching is the only technique the guitar players know). There're guitar solos on each track, pretty simple the first solo in "The Afterlife" (almost a lead rather than a solo), faster and more aggressive the second one, and a little out of place in the titletrack; l find it out of place because of the randomly styled soloing and the abrupt tempo change, from a mid-paced speed to a much faster one, returning to the same mid/slow tempo when the solo is over. Definitely, I think there's something missing in this solo... The guitars sound very distorted, really crude and brutal despite the slow speed, and it is possible to hear the bass guitar under the crushing guitars, highly distorted as well and pick played. There're short passages of bass solos, as it's been a constant in the genre since the beginning.

Vocals are pretty much the typical death metal vocals, and the lyrics are also quite typical to the genre: Hell, spirits, death and unholiness, yet it's missing the gory approach. As I stated before, vocalist Paul Zavaleta sounds pretty similar to Craig Pillard or Robert Garchitorena from Fermento in their early days, the typical deep growling ogre.

There's something different and quite original in this band, which makes them stand out a step further, and it's the use of keyboards (not that typical though) in order to give some dark atmosphere in some passages. They don't overuse the keys, so it's nice to have these dark ambient here and there.

A pretty typical yet original work. Maybe if you long for the fastest and most brutal band ever, you won't like this, but if you're into quality classical death metal this band is surely for you.