As far as I’m concerned, death metal is at its best when it is regressive. There’s a place for tech-death or ripping off Portal or whatever else tickles your fancy; but for me, almost all my favourite death metal is either from that golden late 80s/early 90s heyday, or sounds like it is. Lord Rot fit firmly in with this mindset. The Realm Of Decay sounds as if it could have been spawned at almost any time over the past 25-ish years, and is all the better for it. Think filthy riffs, cavernous vocals, and the kind of fetid aura that does justice to the genre’s name. This is old-school death metal that takes no prisoners, and is sure to get heads banging and fists raised.
As you’d expect, innovation isn’t exactly key here, but that’s not what a release like The Realm Of Decay is about. Instead, it’s an example of taking a classic sound and playing it with enough talent and conviction to make it seem exciting and dangerous again. These three tracks don’t mess around – there’s no keyboard intros or anything less than supreme heaviness. The drums hammer away, the guitars are drenched in filth, and the vocals are just this side of intelligible. The music is largely thrashingly high-tempo, with the occasional slower section that help emphasize just how blisteringly fast and heavy the rest of the music is, and razor-sharp leads and solos punctuate the tracks, giving them extra character and energy (and it has to be said, they are, without exception, absolutely killer). That the man behind the band is also the sole member of Hellripper makes total sense – as that band are to blackened-thrash, so Lord Rot are to old-school death metal.
With a release as short and intense as this, there’s little sense picking out tracks to highlight – it races by at whirlwind speed, leaving the listener in its wake. And that’s a large part of the appeal of The Realm Of Decay – it’s so violent and pummeling that picking apart the pieces for analysis is a pointless task. For sure, I could talk about the glorious drop to a dirty, slowed-down riff halfway through opener “Riff In Half” that sets up the following solo superbly; or the extremely catchy chorus to “Trapped In A Casket”; or any other of a dozen points worth mentioning. But to do so feels like missing the point, and selling the record short slightly. Instead, it’s best to sit back and enjoy the ride, appreciating it for the excellent bloody-minded, filth-encrusted death metal that it is.
The Realm Of Decay is available to stream and download via Bandcamp.