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Album Reviews : Earth Rot – Chthonian Virtues

By on April 10, 2016

a0833821523_16Earth Rot burst onto the West Australian scene in 2014 as a local super group of sorts; featuring past and present members from highly rated acts such as Sensory Amusia, Advent Sorrow & Inanimacy (amongst others). In the time since the band have wasted little time making a name for themselves – releasing their self tilted EP and their first full length album Follow The Black Smoke during the same year that they made their live debut. Numerous national and international tours, a host of local shows and a good share of international supports have helped Earth Rot solidify themselves as one of Australia’s hardest working heavy acts.

That’s a lot of action to pack into just over two years, but aside from a few tweaks to their line up (casualties of such a hectic schedule?) Earth Rot are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Chthonian Virtues is their latest release and from the outside looking in looks to be the perfect entrée to what is shaping up as a prolific 2016 for the newly re-jigged 4 piece (vocalist Jared Bridgeman is now handling bass duties in addition to fronting the band).

The EP gets underway with a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it instrumental “Breach Darkness”. Evil sounding guitar lines create an ominous atmosphere which sets the tone for the rest of the release. The title track “Chthonian Virtues” is a ball-tearer and combines dark mid tempo chugging with chaotic, blast beat laden fury in the best possible way. There are a few solos on this track which add something relatively fresh to the fold, but all in all you’re getting a logical progression form the material on their debut album Follow The Black Smoke. This is a common theme as “Martyrdom Unsealed” & “Infernal” continue to build on, and further establish Earth Rot’s trademark sound which revolves around grimy HM-2 saturated guitar tones, eerie lead melodies, and putrid, hate filled vocals. Fans of the band’s previous work will dig this EP for sure, but late comers to the Earth Rot party should find plenty to like on this disk too. There are plenty of tasty riffs and there’s more than enough changes of pace to keep things interesting.

The EP is rounded out with a cover of “Slave”, the opening track from Silverchair’s 1997 album Freak Show. The opening riffs bring an instant smile to my face as I’m taken back in time to the last years of Primary School, when Silverchair were about the heaviest thing that you’d see on Rage on Saturday morning. The song has had an Earth Rot style death metal makeover and is a novel way to close out the release.

I actually find Earth Rot’s music quite difficult to categorise (Blackened Death Metal perhaps?). Sure, they’ll continue to get the odd comparison to Entombed but to me their music just sounds like Earth Rot, and surely having a distinctive sound and an individual style at this stage of their career is a good thing. There’s just something about the tempo and style that these guys play which just screams ‘Windmills’.

Chthonian Virtues is a fine EP and will solidify the band as a force to be reckoned with in the Australian scene. On a personal note the EP has certainly whet my appetite for their next full length album which is due out later in the year. Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal, Morbid Angel) is handling the mix/master on that one, which is surely a sign that it will melt faces when it drops.

Earth Rot are about to embark on a National tour in support of Chthonian Virtues. Get along to the show when it comes to your town and pick up a copy of the EP.

About

Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.