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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.