Lay Down Rotten – Deathspell Catharsis (Apostasy Records)Friday, 3rd January 2014
Boy, was this a tough one to get through. Now it does bear reminding that as a community of metal-loving people, we got spoiled throughout 2013 from a host of bands including Deafheaven, Altar of Plagues, Arsis, The Ruins of Beverast, Aosoth and Voices, just to name a small few. The list goes on and on and put bluntly, there has been too much innovation and inspiration going on in heavy music for mediocre records to have wiggle room for success. And that’s exactly what Lay Down Rotten’s Deathspell Catharsis is: a horribly, tragically, undeniably mediocre record.
It was pretty clear from the first minute of “Cassandra’s Haunting” what Deathspell was going to offer: subpar, derivative, stale melodic death metal. Just jog your memory for any complaint you’ve ever heard lobbed at an American 00’s metalcore record or half-assed Slaughter of the Soul ripoff, copy and paste, and you’ve basically finished this review. It’s just sad, you know? Sad to hear and read that melodic death metal is now a “dead genre” when so much potential still resides within its framework…but when there are records like this, ripping blatantly from the Dan Swano/Strombland/Bjorler trinity of riffage without the slightest hint of originality, how can you blame people? Better to let the great Gothenburg records rest in the pantheon free from plagiarism, right?
So why the three out of ten? Normally, I make every effort to stay above five out of ten, simply because I respect the hardships of the musical life and the battle every musician fights to make a living in today’s economy. But when a record is unoriginal and disgustingly sloppy in its execution, that’s when the gloves come off. In this case, it was mostly the drums – the fills were all over the place. Seemed like the dude thought he was Derek “One-Take” Roddy when, clearly, he wasn’t. Gross. Get the playing clean, at least.
Bottom line is, we don’t need any more bands like this. We need more Insomniums, more Omnium Gatherums, more Fallujahs, more Rivers of Nihil’s- bands that are finding their own ways to use melodic sounds in death metal without bastardizing the techniques of the Swedish greats. Oh, and the other thing about all those groups…they have drummers that can play.