“Descending Pillars”

By Lord Randall

I’ll be honest from jump here. When it comes to death metal, my tastes lean decidedly toward Scandinavia. Be it the HM-2-driven, dimed-out Stockholm sound, the melodic elements of AT THE GATES / DARK TRANQUILLITY, the myth-worship of AMORPHIS, or the twists ‘n’ turns of CONVULSE / DEMILICH, those are the lands of death where I’m most at home. Of course, there are a handful of USDM acts I’m into, but, for the most part, I’ll take a pass.

Enter VOID ROT, from Minnesota, which, to be fair, is about as far north as you can get within the US borders. Mercifully dispensing with an intro, the quartet sloughs within hearing range, behemoth-sized and lumbering, yet not in a lax or uninterested sense. Just over the 2-minute mark the wretched beast of pestilential death rears its mangled head, the two years between the "Consumed By Oblivion" EP being put to good use, as VOID ROT has learnt not only the use of dynamics, but - as Goya– when to use the subdued colors of their palette to maximum effect. 

The riffwork in ‘Liminal Forms’ veers between nearly dirge tempo and violent churn, all underpinned by a solid rhythm section. Keepings songs at roughly 5-6 minutes in length proves a wise decision for VOID ROT, trimming the fat when even another 15-20 seconds would have surely caused attention spans to wander, a lesson unlearnt by many in this morbid sub-genre. 

It’s in ‘Inversion’, though, that drummer WB cements his MVP status within the album, able to seemingly morph the rest of the tune by the slightest shift of time signature. Saving the best for last is always preferable, especially on a debut, and the foursome do that here, ‘Monolith (Descending Pillars Pt. II)’ injecting moments of Barrett-era PINK FLOYD and latter day CAN freneticism, while losing none of what makes VOID ROT a death metal band, and “Descending Pillars” such a credible first showing.