Noose Rot is quite an evocative moniker, and upon seeing the term ‘primitive death metal’ applied to this EP, I had an inkling of what I may be in for. And whilst in one sense I got what I expected, nothing could have prepared me for the sheer scale and depth that The Creeping Unknown holds.
With the buzzing swells of “Mass Grave Interment” morphing into a harrowing melody, it becomes immediately apparent that something grotesque is stirring. And as the song progresses, emerging like a solitary creature slowly rising from a secluded, subterranean slumber, you can’t help but be engrossed in the swirling darkness that has now descended; helpless after being flattened by the unerring heaviness of Jim Adolphson’s riffs. There’s a doomy feel to this number, with Matt Arrebollo’s snare and kicks carrying so much weight it could shatter your bones just thinking about them. I’m usually a fan of short, sharp, snappy snare cracks, but for music like this, the thicker, heavier sound is perfect. Vocalist Adam Clemans leads the procession, his twisted serenades delivered with a layered combination of grunts, growls and screams that channel other-wordly beasts.
“Worship the Crypt” follows and picks up the pace slightly, with fits and spurts of speed intertwined with more deliberate, measured sections. Structurally it’s a bit messy, but there are some fantastic ideas here, not least the truly evil tremolo picked riff mid way through, made all the more punishing by Arrebollo’s sparse, crashing rhythms. While it may not be the tightest of compositions, it’s dripping in that raw, grimy atmosphere that perfectly encapsulates the ‘primitive death metal’ tag that is being thrown around in Noose Rot’s promotional material. This is followed by the aptly titled “The Creeping Unknown”, which features snaking riffs over straightforward beats that forge sick, demented grooves, further intensifying the unfolding aural horror.
“Bound in a Dark House” continues the onslaught with an absolutely mammoth opening, featuring a monolithic riff that’s so imposing you cannot help but fall before it, powerless to stop the barrage of double bass and steamroller riffs that follow. Time and again throughout this EP you’ll think to yourself ‘fuck me, this is heavy’, but there is no more potent moment than this. And just when you feel that all life has been squeezed out of you, you find a glimmer of light as the clean tones of the interlude’s sorrowful guitar harmonies and bass lines provide a bit of respite. It’s all too brief however, as you’re soon sucked back into the encroaching darkness for the final blows to be administered. A spectacular take on the tried and true light/dark contrast, it’s one hell of a way to close things out.
All in all, The Creeping Unknown is a very strong showing. The murky atmosphere more than makes up for any minor songwriting deficiencies in the first two songs, whilst the latter two are stunning slabs of extreme metal. Terrifying and tantilizing in equal measure, this is a must for death metal fans.
Highlights: “The Creeping Unknown”, “Bound in a Dark House”
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