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RETRO REVIEW: Cerebral Rot’s Excretion of Mortality


Excretion of Mortality is our July Vinyl Club album of the month!

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Metal vocals exist on multiple axes: clean to harsh, pitched high or low, from heroic to malevolent in character. When evaluating the grossest death metal gutturals, my personal favorite spectrum is how dry or wet they are. For example: Swedish band Mylingar’s vocals sound hoarse and choked with dust, as if rasped out by a Draugr from Skyrim, while Antimo Buonano of Mexico’s Disgorge gurgles with a palpable wetness, like a chorus of rumbling sewer pipes. Upon revisiting Cerebral Rot’s second LP, Excretion of Mortality (20 Buck Spin), one of the first things that struck me was how guitarist and vocalist Ian Schwab had landed on a nearly perfect balance of the two textures, simultaneously evoking cobwebbed crypt rot and fetid, blood-soaked swamp waters with his voice. Mix those two things and you’d get a thick, disgusting mud, which is also a pretty handy description of what Cerebral Rot sound like. So obviously we had to make Excretion of Mortality our Vinyl Club album of the month.

Released in 2021, Excretion of Mortality was Cerebral Rot’s second and final full-length statement; the band broke up earlier this year, with Schwab and guitarist Clyle Lindstrom forming Corpus Offal alongside members of Bell Witch and Demoncy. When compared to its 2019 predecessor Odious Descent into Decay, the sophomore LP immediately sounds bigger, more cavernous, and more infernal. No acoustic intro this time, it’s straight to a sinister, snaking lead guitar and bowel-rattling buildup before the title track erupts into furious death-doom. The band (Zach Neal on bass and drummer Drew O’Bryant plus Schwab and Lindstrom) sounds as lively as this music gets, with guitar leads regularly squealing through the muck, but there’s something narcotized or lobotomized about the riffs, a braindead lurch that’s sustained through the whole LP. 

“Bowels of Decrepitude,” smack in the middle of the album, hits particularly hard (must be why I played it on Grave Convulsions back in the summer of 2021 when it was new), but there’s a strong consistency of mood and sound throughout. Closer “Crowning the Disgustulent (Breed of Repugnance)” maintains the vibe but throws a few curveballs. First off, I’m almost positive “disgustulent” isn’t a real word. Second, it’s 11 minutes long. Now we get clean guitar in the eerie intro. About 4:30 in, Cerebral Rot illustrate what it might sound like if Bolt Thrower were into Satan instead of Warhammer. (Spoiler: It would sound AWESOME.) And it just trudges on, like Morbid Angel’s “Nothing Is Not” chugged a bunch of cough syrup, until the pounding finale. Join the Vinyl Club today and get ready for Corpus Offal’s debut LP on 20 Buck Spin with what will remain Cerebral Rot’s ultimate form.

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—Anthony Bartkewicz