Earth Rot - Black Tides Of Obscurity review

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Band: Earth Rot
Album: Black Tides Of Obscurity
Release date: March 2020

01. Dread Rebirth
02. New Horns
03. Towards A Godless Shrine
04. Unparalleled Gateways To Higher Obliteration
05. Ancestral Vengeance
06. The Cape Of Storms
07. Serpent's Ocean
08. Mind Killer
09. Unravelling Vapour Of Sanity
10. Out In The Cold

Black Tides Of Obscurity is an extreme metal riff-fest of the highest quality, pure and simple.

The third record from Australian outfit Earth Rot, there is a brief calm before the storm on opener "Dread Rebirth", but once the first growl arrives about half a minute in, there is little in the way of respite during the onslaught that follows. Black Tides Of Obscurity draws heavily from the OSDM sound of the likes of Dismember and Entombed, from the buzzsaw riffs to the dense, cavernous production. At the same time, Earth Rot bring in creepy black metal chords, plenty of tasty tremolo riffing and more from the world of black metal. The term 'blackened death metal' feels very apt, as death metal really is the sonic core into which other extreme metal elements are added, but Earth Rot really make use of all the tools at their disposal to make the most irresistibly hooky offering possible.

The hooks throughout this album are undeniable, whether they are the overabundance of quality extreme metal riffs or one of the several curve balls that pop up throughout, such as the subtle Iced Earth triplet chugging in "New Horns" or the cheeky disco beat that kicks off the mid-tempo groove-fest that is "Towards A Godless Shrine". The album seamlessly fluctuates between more measured grooves and breakneck blasting, with the ebbs and flows in speed allowing each segment to truly shine. For example, "Ancestral Vengeance" shifts from eerie blackened guitar leads over a mid-tempo stomp, to a classic Swedish OSDM riff, right back into an even groovier stomp with some black metal tremolo on top, all in 30 seconds, and it carries on in much the same vein without any one section feeling either underused or overplayed. There is an awful lot going on in many of these songs, but the transitions are smooth enough that it never feels like Earth Rot have taken the "kitchen sink" approach. The lead guitar work is excellent throughout as well, whether it's a tasteful melodic lead over the rolling outro of "Towards A Godless Shrine", a muted solo over a moody slow riff to complement the sense of impending doom or the odd moment of pyrotechnics.

There is the odd moment of calm, most notably in "Dread Rebirth", which quietens down halfway through for a slow, morose dirge that leads into a reprise of the slow, ominous riff that kicked off this track. These moments of contrast allow the peak moments of the album to shine, such as the emphatic tremolo outro of this same song. However, outside of this and a couple of other bits, the most that comes in the way of a breather is the band dropping the speed down to a slightly doomier pace, such as near the end of "Unparalleled Gateways To Higher Obliteration", but even then there's not much time to pause, as in this case an exhilarating tremolo line is quickly thrown on top to deliver what is possibly the most memorable climax on the album. Well, either that or the Schammasch-esque closing minutes of "Unravelling Vapour Of Sanity", clean chanted vocals, tom-heavy drumming and all.

Really, tracks 2 through 9 just offer one opportunity to bang your head to after another, after another. And yet possibly the strongest risk of whiplash occurs midway through "The Cape Of Storms", where the curviest of balls is thrown by way of a weirdly out-of-place hard rock riff full of swagger and attitude that's far more Mötley Crüe than Morbid Angel. Some people might get a kick out of this little diversion; personally, I hate it, but thankfully it only lasts a minute before normal proceedings are resumed for the remainder of the record.

Well, almost the remainder of the record. After 9 tracks of hard-hitting furious blackened death, "Out In The Cold" sees out Black Tides Of Obscurity with some demented acoustic blues rock, a muted denouement for a fierce record. These couple of minutes of raspy singing and jamming offer the listener a chance to sit back and reflect on the carnage that precedes it, and boy what fun that carnage is.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Written on 31.03.2020 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments: 4   Visited by: 54 users
02.04.2020 - 01:08
Solid review! This has been my go to album since it released. Towards A Godless Shrine is the greatest song released so far this year. Love this record!
02.04.2020 - 09:18
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Excellent review.

Just another pick for my taste. I already gone through face-melting stuff "Renascentia" and perhaps it's one of the best ER record. I was looking for the reference in your review.

Anyway, I need to hop on this soon. It looks delicious.
10.08.2020 - 13:54
Thanks for the review. I almost missed this great album.
10.08.2020 - 14:01
Written by nikarg on 10.08.2020 at 13:54

Thanks for the review. I almost missed this great album.

Better late than never!

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