"Viviscere Exitus"

by Earthdog

Not many people know that Long Island's apocalyptic Doom extremists Rigor Sardonicous have been around since 1988. The band is centered around just two gentlemen namely Joseph J. Fogarazzo - Vocals, Guitar and Glenn Hampton - Bass. In the fine doom tradition of taking things slow and easy, their first full length didn't appear till 1999. That was the beast known as "Apocalypsis Damnare" released on Paragon Records. 2002 came along and they appeared on a 7" with The Forgotten. "Principia Sardonica" was released in 2004 with a re-recorded version of "Apocalypsis Damnare" being released in 2005. The re-recorded version sounded even sicker than the original as unbelievable as that may seem. Not happy with just re-recording one album, they went back to the studio again to re-record their original demo titled "Risus ex Mortuus". That album was released by released by Russian label Endless Desperation Records in 2006 and they inserted a hilarious cover version of the Kiss track God Of Thunder. A split album with Dimentianon in 2007 was followed by another full length monstrosity called "Vallis ex Umbra de Mortuus". By saying "monstrosity" I am actually giving the band a compliment, as the crusty sound and the thick as tar guitar tone is still one of the most over powering sounds ever recorded in my opinion. It wasn't for the faint hearted or for folks with a queasy stomach, this is music made for the deranged and the very disturbed. That brings us to last year when they released as a free download a complete live performance recorded at University Cafe in Stony Brook, NY in 2009.

Now how do you describe a band like Rigor Sardonicous... well ,how indeed? This band takes the Doom traditions and pushes them to extreme levels of intimidating bleakness. The sound is raw, primitive and so swampy, they really sound like no one else. The music also sounds deceptively simple but there is a method to their madness and as the music grows on you like a infected wart, you slowly begin to realize, there is more to the songs than first meet the eardrums. It's ugly Doom for the extreme Doom freak, casual listeners of the genre are bound to feel physically ill while listening to this band ( just a health warning for ya ). Then you have the sickening vocals, Fogarazzo's lyrics are vomited and gurgled at you and never rise above anything higher than super low and guttural. This live album features no less than 18 of these tracks which span the bulk if not their entire career as a band together. Note though that some of these tracks are nothing more than very short interludes of noise, distortion, crushing bass notes or a combination of all three. The live show begins with a creepy intro piece titled "Praedestinare" that prepares you for the rather nightmarish experience you are about to be subjected to. When "Anima Interitus" comes spewing forth, you are buried under waves of distortion and ugly, crawling sonic noise that is similar to being slowly crushed to death and I mean real slow, the track barely moves along at all. They were once described as being like a snail on sedatives and that is a accurate assessment totally.

After another mind-numbing interlude comes "Saprophyte" with a sound and vibe that is beyond anything else in the Doom scene. This makes Sunn O))) sound like Deep Purple, the tones are truly horrific and add to that the burping, demented vocal mumblings and you left with something that is other worldly and excessive. "Alveus De Somnus" picks up the pace with a little faster, chugging riffing but it still sounds painfully slow. "Laudare Apocalypsis" is one of the ugliest tracks and the lack of no real drum sound except for the odd crashing of cymbals and something like someone hitting a hammer on a coffin lid makes this very dark, sparse and mentally unbalanced (no offense guys)! "Little Rigor Boy" is their version of Little Drummer Boy... yes, the Christmas song from the 1950's and it's a side splitting tune that had me rolling on the floor with laughter when I first heard it. Rigor Sardonicus have always had a element of black humor... their version of "God of Thunder "was one of them... but "Little Rigor Boy" beats that just for plain over the top hilarity. "Jewish Massacre" has somewhat of a Traditional Doom Metal riff but again it's arranged with the band's unusual brand of apocalyptic grittiness. "Despair" is a depressing and a putrid slab of nasty swampy droning Doom and I find it slightly infectious. Does that make me deranged ,too? (Well, you ARE writing for Wormwood!--Editor Mality)  Maybe, but there is a hook there, just look for it under the mud and slime infested bass sound.

The last two real tracks separated by more interludes of un-pleasantness is "Sleepness" and a happy little number titled "Parasitosis". "Parasitosis" is actually a fast tune and serves as a surprise this late in the album. Maybe best compared to early grind such as Carcass, this sickening, gut wrenching explosive noise attack is a killer way to finish the album. I couldn't listen to much more than one track like this so it's with relief i can say its the only song on the album in this vein. This is my first review of Rigor Sardonicous but I have read many reviews of their albums in the last couple of years and one thing that keeps on being asked is, are they serious? Is this a joke band and are they taking the piss as the British would say? I think they are serious, just so extreme it's hard to take their sound all in at first. The mixture of horror laced funeral Doom Metal and the black humor especially in "Little Rigor Boy" sounds refreshing to me. After all, Funeral Doom can be, really! The production is raw but all of their releases are and really there is no other way to record and produce a band like this. Most people in the Doom community will find this a little extreme but personally I think this is Doom Metal gold, download it and play it loud. You will piss off a lot of people but who the hell cares, this kills. 9/10