Rotten Tomb – The Relief of Death

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Dark and brimmed with evil atmosphere the Chilean death metal band Rotten Tomb has set a structural method for its sophomore 'The Relief of Death'. The songwriting reflects inspiration from the genre classics of death metal à la Incantation, Krypts and Grave Miasma, but Rotten Tomb's latest work is beyond anything I have heard this year. The band is comprised of C. (guitars and bass), Deathbringer (guitars and vocals), Utukku (bass guitar) and, A. Prophaner (drums).

The opening segment of ‘Dissonant Death Ritual’ will give you the feeling that you are decaying slowly under the cold garish moon. With the fascinating work of the lead guitars and the guttural growls the album takes a very atmospheric perspective to create an ominous background.

Being muddy and yet ugly the atmosphere somehow recalls bands like Funebrarum. There is a focus on the cavernous feel that renders a high quality concerning the guitar riffs along with the guttural reverb immediately bringing the style of slow death metal to the forefront. This is the kind of album that is dedicated to fans of Brutality and you can easily notice the shift in the guitar pacing and the crushing drums plowing against the tremolo picked riffs in the track ‘Oblivion’.

The riffs initially start slow: the emphasis is not on the gore-themed styled death metal, but more on creating a morbid atmosphere. The sound is somehow balanced between the cavernous and death doom drawing you into the pit of hell. The malefic surge of the guttural growls imbues a spectral macabre that complements the album’s cover art, wearing the gloomy apparatus of various styles within the realm of death metal.

Going through other songs like ‘Psychopathic World’ shifts into a fast tempo. From the start of this track the mauling drums execute proper double bass and blast beats. The sophomore has everything you could ask for and it’s interesting to see a band from Chile reaching a cult status without being too brutal or gory. Rotten Tomb aptly crafts an eerie sense of darkness.

Thanks to the compelling element of the lead guitar that takes a prominent role on the album, it perfectly adjoins an inspiring amalgamation with its slow obscure guitar tone, enhancing the mood on ‘In the Last Hours’. These moments invade the soul with awe and darkness. Bone-crushing double bass sits atop rotten death metal riffs. While stirring the cauldron slowly, the burbling noise of bursting fury of the drums is backed by  an obscured doomed aura.

In the dark guitar segment in the opening moments of ‘Rumble for the Cult of Death’ the rotten spattered breeze of the classic death metal brutality swerves in with pulverizing riffs and grinding double bass that presents an overwhelming touch of atmospheric quality. The instrumentation ensures high quality from these Chilean lads. Rotten Tomb possesses a knack for exploiting the right elements between the paces and then shifting slowly into something more dreadful. However, such moments are achieved out of the simplest musical components.

There is an ostensibly morbid theme that molds tracks like ‘Funeral Urn’ which shifts from sluggish tempo to blast beats. Each riff is usually driven through several variations by the rhythm and lead guitars convey excellent musicianship, despite the technique showcasing a creative level that will make you shudder.

From the lead guitar touches and the dramatic guitar soloing in its tempest and ominous death doom riffs to the straight-up blasting sections, these qualities are enough to elevate the band to the top ranks of Finnish death doom. The talent cannot be overlooked for the band shows a tight grip on the instrumentation as they unleash hell upon us.

The tracks are heavy, doomy and brutal, emphasized dramatically with a melodic lead guitar. The same can be said about other songs like ‘Let the Death Takes Us’. Some twists from the early Paradise Lost album ‘Lost Paradise’ can be heard on several tracks. This means the songs vary in the rhythmic doomy hooks to the grinding death metal. ‘Illusions of a False World’ captures a gloomy effect with the reverb of the guttural growls and commanding lead guitars leaving an impact on the listener. Rotten Tomb knows exactly when to infuse brutality. The tremolo section is backed with powerful blast beats while the reverb grows obsolete and rotten the doomy riffs instill some hooks.

The album concludes with the track ‘Mental Persecution’ which opens with obscure ridden guitar notes before the drums shift from slow to blast beats to breakdowns, the volatile quality of the riffing has a particular method, and the drumming pace also varies from the previous songs.


  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 9/10
  • Originality 9/10

‘The Relief of Death’ is a cult death doom metal album that reeks of morbid fumes of evil darkness, Rotten Tomb has crossed new boundaries on the sophomore release and deserves my highest recommendation for fans of Krypts, Grave Miasma and Incantation.

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