Thursday, June 3, 2010

Colonize The Rotting - Composting The Masticated (Sevared Records; 2010)

Colonize The Rotting are a newcomer in the realm of Cali-slam/brutal DM, and thus it is probably very easy to lump them in with the assorted styles of Californian blasting technical weird brutal stuff coming out these days. All the hallmarks of this style are here: really ridiculous chops from every single band member, about half a million bucks spent on the production to get everything perfect and clinical sounding, involved songwriting that seems almost ad-libbed...yet, of course, there are the utter pitfalls of this style which come with the territory which include sounding pretty much soulless, overly wanky and almost entirely uninteresting.

Sound like a brutal review? Well, yeah, so far. But really, I've only described the scene this band fits into, and not necessarily the band themselves. Now, since I haven't heard their previous demo, I can really only judge Colonize The Rotting on this one EP. Barrett told me that this was excellent, and I know some people (whose taste I don't necessarily care for, but still) who like this band. So, I figured, why not drop the money and pick it up, it's the least I can do for one of the best (and most hard-working) labels in slam/brutal DM, and I can even review it. I put it on in the hotel room at MDF VIII last weekend and I immediately knew the band was Californian due to all of the aspects I explained above. Pretty much everything on this EP is a total blur of "death metal" that is nearly entirely featureless, right down to the cookie-cutter gurgling vocals, acrobatic guitar leads and incredibly frantic drumming. Speaking of that, the drummer is also the vocalist, which is sort of cool until you realize that it really isn't, and that this is almost entirely rhythmic music as most slam is, and therefore the vocals follow set patterns defined pretty much wholly by the drums and bass, which, while frantic as I stated before, are very easy to reconcile technically. Anyway, who really cares about the technical part of this? This is Cali slam and I need to discuss other relevant aspects as to why it is not really anything particularly good.

Positive aspects of this include a really, really good slam-into-tremolo-variation-of-same-slam on "Purulent Ejaculation", and quite a few good solos that would sound a lot better if they were fit into the music in a way that doesn't sound like they were thrown in after the fact. The last song is 8 minutes long but it doesn't really go anywhere that is particularly interesting. It sounds like music made by musicians, and not music made by fucked up people who are actually brutal in any way, shape or form. Clinical. Deprived of brutality. And those are the positives, mind you.

Here are some negatives...actually, there's really only ONE that is a major contention, but it's such a commonly-leveled criticism nowadays in the scene that it sticks out like a sore thumb: this band really likes to not write cohesive songs. In fact, they pretty much make it a point to draw out their tracks to lengths that don't make any sense. A track should be an inclusive delineation on a CD onto which a written song is "tracked". This track should evolve within its own margins until it "ends", that is to say, until the song cannot go anywhere any longer and, if pushed further, would cease to be a). good and/or b). the same track. Colonize The Rotting, along with a lot of shit coming from California (aside from Gortuary and I guess Condemned, even though I'm not a fan of them) should probably try understanding this concept. There are 6-8 minute songs on this EP that don't deserve to be extended this much at all. A lot of fat could be hacked, a lot of ideas could be extrapolated into separate songs, but it seems like the boys in this band are content with writing a bunch of disparate sections, copying and pasting them end to end, and calling them "tracks". Nah. Doesn't fly with me. Contrast this with my review earlier today of Short Bus Pile Up. Surprise, they're East Coast. They write songs that are too short, that need some extra fat, something extra in the songwriting department which would allow their songs to challenge the listener while entertaining them. This band? They challenge the listener too much, and in the process, end up haranguing them with endless obtuse sections of gutturalslamguitarsoloblastwank. It isn't the best choice, but California doesn't give a shit. Bands from there will keep writing stuff like this whether I like it or not, obviously.

Does that mean I have to like it, though? Hell no. Do I hate this? No, not at all. It's kind of fun, it has a very Flesh Consumed meets Pathology vibe that I don't think is unlikeable at all. However, it's fucking Cali-slam, and until this state/section of the country stops putting out irritating, over-produced, overwrought music like this, I won't stop complaining about it. I mean, something is fucking wrong when your "EP" is over 35 minutes in a genre where a shitload of excellent bands can write a 25 minute full-length with more content and 10 minutes less running time to irritate the listener with.

However, if you like ANYTHING COMING FROM CALIFORNIA AT ALL, you'll probably fucking dig the shit out of this. It's fun, but it's unfortunate that they had some come at a time when I could make an ultimate example out of them. That being said, Barrett thinks they're one of the best bands he's heard lately, so go ahead and buy this and support Sevared anyway. I did, and I only marginally regret it!


Nick Adams said...

Let's not forget to mention that Pathology is an excellent and worthwhile California band. I generally agree with you about Cali-slam though. It's like all these bands listen to Decrepit Birth and take all the wrong lessons from it.

anthony said...

Your honest and spot on reviews are always very much appreciated by me.

Anonymous said...

everyone is paying too much attention to the southern Californian brutal bands. Yeah there fucking good but there some fucking good bands from northern California that have potential but don't get any attention really. northern California might be full on a bunch of wanna be metallica bands, but there some good slamming brutal death metal bands from there like vaginal discharge and cerebral engorgement (which i just found and there fucking sick!)

Nick Adams said...

@Anonymous: That's actually a good point. I'm actually staying on the Bay Area for a couple weeks so I'd like to look into those bands. Do you (or anyone else) have any more recommendations?

Also while we're on the subject, Decrepidemic do a great job making CADM sound awesome even though they are from Portugal.

Anonymous said...

I don't really know of any more Slam/Brutal bands from Northern California because its filled with deathcore and retro-thrash bands. But I bet there are some Brutal bands up there, all we need to do is find them! I live in the Bay Area myself and the scene is pretty shitty because a lot of venues are shutting down and everyone want to do the same thing.

To get back on Subject, Decrepidemic really sounded sick! But you cannot forget Flesh consumed, they always sound amazing live!

Anonymous said...

The Bay Area has a few good BDM bands coming out of there. My friend Brandon is from there and he just started a band called Repulsive Infestation. They're pretty fucking sick and are new so they still have lots of room to grow their sound.

(Short Bus Pile Up)

erek said...

you mad

Anonymous said...

for good northern cali bands you got to listen to. Flesh Consumed, Embryonic Devourment, Slaughterbox, Odious Mortem, Braindrill, Severed Savior, thats more a mix of brutal tech slam whatever

Anonymous said...

Seems like you admit your review is biased, did you already have an opinion formed before buying the CD? These guys are sick and the production is great.