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Smolder - 62%

Sweetie, June 4th, 2020

Considering how raw, abrasive, and punk oriented their side of the split EP that Molder did with Coffin Rot was, I was expecting their debut full-length to be quite similar. In some ways it is, but Vanished Cadavers somewhat side-steps the whole punk aesthetic that was present before, and they also managed to wipe away a lot of the rust on the tones. So what you're left with is a straight up death metal attack that sounds like what you'd imagine a crazy man digging up a corpse on the cover would depict.

Interestingly, the vocal style shifted into something more along the lines of Obituary's John Tardy, adding wailing tails to every growl and lots of grunt for the extra push. Depending on the track, this is rather intriguing, however there are some where the gushing echo on it is overbearing. Fitting, but not always pleasant. The music itself manages to drop in some grooves from time to time, which makes itself present throughout the title track. There's also tons of waving riffing that scrapes the fret-board up and down, particularly during bridges. "Feasting On Dirt" does it a bit more subtly, as it too blends in the bouncing rhythms. On the other hand, "The Sweet Taste Of Death" relies heavily on that for support.

Unfortunately, the potential that is introduced in some of these earlier songs doesn't really last the rest of the album. By track six, the riffs begin to blend together, and the tiring aspects of the vocals wear you thin. Odd little standouts like the extremely doomy and haunting crawl of "Incipient Disease" definitely stand out, preventing the ship from completely sinking. The bassline and gradual drum build here certainly cast a fun shadow as well. But I can't say much else grabs my attention, unless you count the weird spoken intro that drastically shifts the mood on "Act Of Revenge"

You could say that Vanished Cadavers was a bit of a let-down, albeit not an objectively bad record. I was just expecting a lot more thanks to the anticipation from the aforementioned split. If you're a death metal dork like myself, certainly give it a try. But if I were the one to craft this, I likely would have stuck to the punkier idea introduced early on. It not only worked better, but set them apart substantially.