Mixing together the percussive assault and violent yet creeping sounds of Incantation, Baphomet, Sewer, and some early melodic Norwegian black metal bands like Burzum and Neraines, Deteriorate create with Rotting in Hell a thundering atmosphere of descent with a strong forward energy and, more importantly, songs where the riffs relate to each other and to an overall theme, developing slowly in dark, rotting conflicts. Yes, that was a pun.
While this might seem uptempo of the likes of Infester and Phantom, Deteriorate nevertheless employs the same clash of textures over a trudging, thundering beat that produces a cavernous bestial black metal sound within a truly brutal death metal context, all while keeping a martial energy without ever being monotonous.
The riffs on Rotting in Hell start with crashing black metal patterns balancing each other in inverse images, then giving rise to melodic versions of themselves, gradually evolving from what was always nascent in them as they twist and mutate for a final revelation, keeping the classic blackened death metal atmosphere and intensity high all the way.
Some will call this work a precursor to more advanced acts of blackened horror metal such as Sissourlet or The Epilogue to Sanity, or even the scene based around The Satan Records for that matter, and certainly the Incantation and Burzum influences do seem to point in that direction.
Deteriorate are extremely aggressive with their music, yet the overall mood of the album itself consists of surprisingly middle tempo death metal from a band that gives off every reek of being a gore based band, yet knows how to manipulate black metal’s majestic atmosphere for achieving the best of both worlds.
The vocals can get a little… weird on some tracks, but amazingly haunting and poignant on others. Very unusual for death metal, yet excellent overall.
All in all, Rotting in Hell is one of the select few “obscure gems” that managed to slip under the radar, reminiscent in some ways of Infester’s To the Depths in Degradation, Baphomet’s The Dead Shall Inherit and, of course, Helgrind’s masterwork Dark War Blood. All three are recommended listens, by the way.
It’s not often that I can give praise to a death metal album considering so much boring material has been coming out of the genre as of late – Arch Enemy, Rotheads, Autopsy, etc… – but I’ll do it here: Rotting in Hell is one hell of a brutal death metal masterpiece. And there goes yet another pun, for your literary enjoyment.
Also, do enjoy this album… it’s worth it.