Cemetery Filth/Ectovoid/Sabbatory/ Trenchrot
4 Doors to Death

Ahh, the death metal explosion of the late ’80’s and early ’90’s…if you were there to experience any of it, then you know it was a magical time for metal music. A time when a new guard was coming up and pushing the old guard aside, whether the old liked/wanted it or not. It was a time when new gems of bands and albums were waiting to be unearthed and coveted for years to come. It was a time before the internet. A time when new jams were discovered through tape trading, fan-zines, a band’s album thanks list, logos seen on t-shirts in a band’s picture, and of course, just rifling through music stores for hours and making random/blind choices.

Once in awhile, a label would put out a compilation album or two and in 1990 and 1993, Roadrunner Records released At Death’s Door and At Death’s Door II. These two compilations were huge to fans, giving us a look into a dozen different bands at a low price without having to hunt endlessly, and a lot of the time unsuccessfully, for some awesome new death metal. Unspeakable Axe Records have seemingly payed respect to these two Roadrunner comps. with their  4 Doors to Death split, released earlier this year, featuring four of the labels acts, each contributing a few songs of deathly pleasures.

First up is Cemetery Filth, sporting members from both the Tennessee and Georgia areas, this four piece bring more than a competent mix of old school death metal with their three contributions to this four way split. “Consumption of Volition” gets things going nicely, and one can easily hear a mix of influences ranging from Cancer, Morbid Angel, Gorefest, and Benediction (ex-Benediction growler, Dave Ingram, actually lends some guest vocals to this track). It’s a good song, but nothing you haven’t heard done many times over, yet groundbreaking isn’t what Cemetery Filth are trying to be, so how could one fault them for that.“Dagonian Dialect…the Obelisk Unearthed” follows with a simple beginning of rung out chords and a slow delightfully melodic lead with a slight evil flair. There are some really appealing guitar tones here too, just clean enough to really pull out all the riffs and changes. Honestly, the track recalls many different artists all at the same time, from Death to Autopsy to (old) Edge of Sanity, but it mostly makes me feel like Morbid Angel‘s “God of Emptiness” had been re-worked with an Altars of Madness controlled chaos type of vibe. Cemetery Filth close out their part of 4 Doors to Death with “Cosmic Wraiths”, and its slight Grave/Swedish death metal influence, though without the full HM2 worship.

Alabama’s Ectovoid chime in next with just two entries into this split, the first being “Ash Primordial”. Sporting a dirtier tone than Cemetery Filth, Ectovoid also wield a sound steeped in old school, though far more Incantation in their presentation. The track features some splendid droning evil riffs and even a tad bit of that suffocating Nile-esque vibe. At just under six minutes, the track feels too long and could have benefited in cutting it back a minute or so. Ectovoid follows it up with “Possessed by Ancient Dread”, which still retains the massive Incantation influence, but is easily more interesting than “Ash Primordial”. Beginning much like Judas Priest‘s “Between the Hammer and the Anvil”, it’s a slower to mid-paced track with thick riffs and haunting little melodies. Plodding along in great fashion to about the half way point, the song picks up just a smidge, not fast by any means, before closing things out with a nice tortured growl/death rattle.

Third to bat in this metal four-way is the Canadian act, Sabbatory. These Winnipeg deathsters contribute two songs to 4 Doors to Death, one being a pretty spot on cover of Mortuary Drape‘s  “Primordial”, so you know what you’re getting there. That makes “Ascension to My Holy Tomb” the only original track by Sabbatory, and while it’s not the most original, it is a damn fun listen. Again, rooted in the old school sound like the majority of  bands on Unspeakable Axe’s roster, Sabbatory rock an early Pestilence and Asphyx influence, especially in the vocal department. The track has a raw/organic, fun, and rollicking thrashy death sound to it and pulls you in with its genuineness. Its nice use of simple dynamics rocks out with just a dash of Swedish death in its tone and style, and the song really moves forward in successful fashion. It’s catchy and fun, kind of like Scream Bloody Gore era Death playing an Impaled style of metal.

Closing things out on 4 Doors to Death is Philadelphia’s Trenchrot. If you are not already familiar with their thrashy take of Asphyx meets Bolt Thrower meets Death meets Autopsy, then I feel for you…I really do. “Hell Pilot’s Call” starts out with a slower, drawn out death dirge that really brings to mind an Entombed/Dismember, with a bit of old Gorguts, vibe in its structure. The song is ominous, yet burly in its dissonance, panning out to be more than just a bash and dash effort. “Powerful Kandarian Steel” follows things up with a nice little Evil Dead themed rager. Speedier momnents morph into slower, chunky change ups  that surround and promote the song’s central ideas, while tortured chants of “Klaatu Verata Niktu” rise and fall, and a simple yet powerfully effective solo  rips its way through your eardrums. It’s a great track that ends in dreadful forlorn, setting up both Trenchrot’s final contribution and the split’s last song with a more than apt cover of Death‘s “Evil Dead”. The cover is spot on, tight, and accurate as fuck, actually enhancing the original with some added lead work and harmonizing in places. In all honesty, this cover is probably the best song on the entire split. That isn’t a diss to any of the bands, but more of a nod to how Chuck Schuldiner’s songwriting really was special and ahead of everyone else.

All in all , 4 Doors to Death is a fun way to check out a few different, great bands while not breaking the bank. While it pays homage to those old and awesome compilations from back in the day, it ultimately achieves a more cohesive listen than said comps. and honestly, is just a really good time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
September 6th, 2016


  1. Commented by: Jay

    That intro really nailed it and grabbed me Kristofor. I remember those times of getting into the heavy stuff with no Internet or anything digital to help me.

    I am a split fiend and I’ve been trying to catch up on a lot of death metal again. This sounds dirty and old school…right up my alley.

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