The Rot Within Us

I have been fortunate enough to review the last several Purtenance releases and The Rot Within Us is their fifth proper full-length album.  These Finish death metal slayers are not newcomers to the scene and after a 20 year absence returned in 2012 and since then their output has been good to excellent.

Any fan of true old school death Finnish death metal understands the extreme lumbering heaviness that these types of bands craft with their sound, with some leanings towards Bolt Thrower/Asphyx in some cases with the extreme mid-paced crushing heaviness.  The band wastes no time in crafting cutesy little intros and “Mournful Echoes” begins with an extremely doomy guitar tone and the band has crafted basically a doom death song, as this song is heavy AF-listen to this on a good sound system with a sub-woofer to her the heaving heaviness.  The detractor of the song are the vocal mix.  Way to ‘effin high in the mix and the vocals seem a bit strained.  They are 90’s death metal vocals, but sounds like some of the throaty growls are strained.  The song picks up to a nice 90’s era’s death metal gallop, before cascading downward to a crawl and then “Transitory Soul of the Righteous” comes right in, it’s almost as if is an extension of the album-opener.

Once again the slow grinding guitars are depressive and dense.  The vocals are barked and throaty again, but the mix throughout the album with the vocals front and center, are a bit much, at times it drowns out the music, which is something you never want to happen on an album’s production.  This song picks up the pace a bit, then goes back into a grinding slow doom death dirge (D to the third power).  The growl right before the 2.40 part is excellent and the gallop is like 1988 all over, reminding me of Death, actually in their prime – the Scream Bloody Gore/Leprosy era, if you will.  The song gets faster and slows down some more with squealing guitars.

“An Invisible Master” starts…yes you guessed it, slow…a nice filthy guitar tone before the growl erupts with the galloping speed.  The speed picks up a little more and towards the end some double bass action comes in before the song ends as it began with the guitar riffing, and this time the vocalist is growling away.  “Nekromantik Spiritualism” is over seven minutes and is the album closer and starts doomy and the song picks up some speed and gets into mid-paced rumbling heaviness too, drum patterns, are pretty simple and some nice ethereal guitar soloing comes in equipped with atmospherics and growly spoken word moments.  The double bass, towards the end of the song is pretty fast and works well.

Overall Purtenance’s The Rot Within Us is solid old school Finnish 90’s era death metal, as the band was originally born and bred with.  The band has definitely shifted towards and embraced the doom death metal sound to the proverbial T.  As previously stated the high mix of the vocals, for me, is grating, and drowns out the music.  To me it seems that the music presented on this album is pretty simplistic in nature, which at times works quite well for this death metal style.  The album cover is super cool and whoever crafted the drawing should be commended.  Overall this is good, I was expecting the songs to stick with me a bit more, though.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
August 30th, 2023


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