CORPSESSED "Succumb to Rot"
CORPSESSED's last record of all-new material came out nearly 4 years ago with the only releases in between being a re-working of their debut and and a live record. Compared to that previous record - 2018's "Impetus of Death" - the mixjob is slightly crisper but not at all taking away the charm that this band had on that record with their ability to completely match their own intensity both when blasting and when lumbering. Awash in the best amount of reverb, this record is a masterclass in mixing death metal with atmosphere and aggression alike.
After the intro, "Relentless Entropy" sets the perfect tone for the rest of the record, both in terms of of the music therein as well as the title being a perfect descriptor of the band's ability to set a blistering pace and then veer into a lumbering breakdown of sorts. It just works so well and you find yourself banging your head to the power of the riff! Better than most modern bands these days and in this style, CORPSESSED have masterfully harnessed the power of the riff from scene forebears like Trey Azagthoth, Robert Vigna, and especially John McEntee. Churning verses like in "Spiritual Malevolence" and the downright-ENTHRALLING "Calling Void" beckon your ear in with their deceptive simplicity. Special call-out should go to vocalist Niko Matilainen as throughout this record his voice operates more like just another instrument in the mix adding vibe to everything, and I'm meaning that only as a compliment as it fits the music perfectly. He's not trying to throw in any histrionics. He's trying to keep you engaged in the headbanging alongside his bandmates and like the riffage it just absolutely works!
Throughout it all there is a single glaring flaw with this record, that being drummer Jussi-Pekka Manner's propensity to be a 'Russian Dragon.' Is he playing in front of the beat compared to the rest of the band? Behind the beat? Speeding up? Slowing down? You never know what he's going to do. It's a real bummer because throughout the entire release he demonstrates that he DOES have some impressive chops and a knack for playing exactly what the part needs, but if you were to tell me he has never played to a click in his life I would absolutely believe you (and after re-listening to "Impetus of Death" it seems that's accurate). It happens often, and yet is still unexpected every time, peaking with the playing ridiculously ahead of the beat that happens during the blasting section of 1:04-1:13 of "Calling Void," where at the moment it almost seems like he throws a (admittedly killer) fill in just to give him a chance to jump back on the 1. The worst part is, that once you notice it happening, you start to look for it and that almost sabotage's the record's listenability.
This record hits a certain way for sure and I absolutely love it save for that glaring issue. Repeated listens are a little taxing as a result of it, but I can't help but want this record to grow on me even more for how ridiculously good the brutal riffage contained within is.