Revered post-post-deconstructionist philosopher Taylor Swift summed up relationships rather well: “so it’s gonna be forever, or it’s gonna go down in flames.” Ultimately, it is a binary choice; it lasts, ‘til death do you part, or it fails, and you part ways while you’re both still breathing. The start, the “honeymoon phase” as some call it, is fresh and exciting; how could you ever grow tired of this? And then it’s a ton of work. Little irritations pop up, those things that were once charming grow stale and boring, and you begin to wonder if they’re even trying anymore. T-Swift’s flames of the end aren’t there yet, but the growing heat, edging ever closer, can be felt nonetheless.

Which brings us to Chile’s Soulrot and their debut Nameless Hideous Manifestations. The honeymoon phase of Swe-death, in its prime with Left Hand Path and Like an Everflowing Stream, still brings back those memories of the excitement we long for and want to rekindle. So, like asking her to wear that red dress from that party a few years ago to give you the same gut-punch feeling, we seem to ask little more of our Swe-death than that it remind us of what it once was. The dress is getting tighter in some places it shouldn’t, but we’re reminded enough of the good old days that we can look past it, reveling in the flesh of the past, if just for a moment. Soulrot knows what we want their music to do, and wants little more than to recapture that old magic.

The Left Hand Path is trodden well on “Infertile Anti-Womb,” which sounds more like Entombed than Entombed A.D. does; it’s even got that characteristic melody we all know, that slight variation on the Phantasm theme merged with a new but somehow familiar solo. The spiderlike riffing of “This Putrid Canvas” stands out, elevating it from mere Entombed worship to quality Entombed worship. Those old feelings come rushing back, reminding me why I’m here in the first place. Likewise with the thrashy “From My Grave,” which may have been something to emerge from the jam room of Left Hand Path times; this is, assuredly, a compliment.

And yet, like our relationships that fail, it hurts to admit when it’s just not good enough. After twenty-five seconds of pointless opening sound cut into a separate and stupidly titled track in what surely must be an act of self-awareness, “Those Who Dwell in the Abyss” brings Nameless Hideous Manifestations to a proper start by effectively reversing the “Left Hand Path” structure; it begins with the Phantasm melody riff-off, getting into more frenetic riffing before an admittedly good crushing chug comes along. It goes off the rails when bringing the melody back for a needless repetition or two, and then drags out one more verse just for good measure; the time management ain’t what it used to be, and Soulrot’s song is actually shorter by a half minute. “Incorporeal Autopsy” just meanders with stock Entombed riffing, making an impression solely because I can’t shake the feeling of how massive a difference a couple notes can make, rendering unforgettable riff patterns into boilerplate HM-2 tone demonstrations. Nothing here is intolerable, but rather too tolerable; if Swe-death fanatics needed background jazz like pretentious penthouse player parties, Soulrot could fit that bill nicely.

With all of the above said, I still enjoyed what Soulrot did here for the most part, but I enjoyed it in the wrong way. Much like one can “enjoy” their partner by merely imagining them when they were younger, what I liked about Nameless Hideous Manifestations was the reminders of old Swe-death, those Entombed moments that make my ears perk up just like when Left Hand Path walked through that door for the first time. Much of this review has focused on me, but at the same time a problem lies within the strategy of Soulrot: by simply trying to remind of a bygone time, they neglected to make me care about what they’re doing now and appreciate that, flaws and all. If you’re going to go toe-to-toe with the glory years, you’d best bring your A-game or not play at all. Sure, the production is nice and crusty, foregoing the Entrails/Demonical polish nicely but still being clear and crisp, but what it’s showcasing just doesn’t live up to the standards Soulrot willingly embraced when embarking on their journey to make a Swe-death record in 2017.


Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Memento Mori Records
Websites: soulrot.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/soulrotchile
Releases Worldwide: April 24th, 2017

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  • Thatguy

    What a clever review, full of bittersweet emotions.

    I could tie this in with the band photo, but ‘less is more’ so I will retrain myself.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      How can less be more? That’s impossible!

      • Name’s Dalton

        Yngwie, you sage!

  • Drew Music

    Oh jeez, you messed this right up.
    There should be a different picture for the album art, the band is from France, the rating should be a 4.0 and the album title is spelt ‘La Partition.’

    • Did the band pay you or something? La Partition is 3.0 at most.

      • brutal_sushi

        Nah brah, Drew and I just have been really stoked for the album.

    • brutal_sushi

      It’s a solid 4.0 for me too… But It might rate higher after time because It gets better and better every time I listen to it. My only complaint so far is the ending was not as strong as Februus… Finale is so silly good.

      • Drew Music

        Quittance/Finale is untouchable, they weren’t gonna beat that, and I agree that every spin seems to unearth new layers and elements. La Partition is a beast, beyond worth the wait.

        • Drew Music

          To clarify, I meant Plenitude – Finale, shows how often I play the tracks separate from the whole album.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Taylor Swift brought up on Soulrot’s review? Makes me wonder how many times Soulrot has been brought up on Taylor Swift’s reviews.

    • Drew Music

      I’m about 98% positive she has cited Soulrot and Aliester Crowley as her two greatest sources of inspiration.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    For some stupid reason I saw the band picture and immediately visualized in my mind how the photo session ended: The photographer said “done” and then pressed “play” on a boombox and the three guys in the band started (choreographed) dancing to “U can’t touch this” by M.C: Hammer.

    • brutal_sushi

      Now I cant unsee that when looking at the band pic.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Do you find it as funny as I do?

        • brutal_sushi

          Yes… but only because in my mind their faces don’t change whatsoever, but they are M.C. Hammer’n back and fourth.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I could probably work with “Baby got back” too.

          • [not a Dr]

            … or with “Hey Mickey”.

  • Iain Gleasure

    Is there a philosophers union we can lodge complaints in against Diabolus?
    He can’t keep getting away with it.

    • [not a Dr]

      That sounds like commie talk. Diabolus won’t recognize the validity of any commie organisation.

  • ashcindersmoke

    If nothing else, I’m digging the hell out of the album art

  • Name’s Dalton

    Damn, that was depressing.

  • Ivan E. Rection

    Recapturing that Swedish DM spirit of yesteryear is a bitch. I’d say Black Breath did it justice on their last album. These guys missed it.
    No worries, chin up guys, just like in your photo.

  • Tofu muncher

    That band photo is like the band trying to instead inhale Carcass’s reek of putrefaction to somehow copy that album’s greatness #feelingnostalgicdamnthosefirsttwo paragraphs

  • Completely agree with the rating. Not a lot separates chaff from wheat, though. These guys are almost there, and I enjoy their sound and energy, but the material misses some much needed hooks to grow beyond generic. Maybe next time.

  • Sophocles

    What a geniune idea having a band photo in a graveyard……. Maybe they should try handstanding and turn the photo upside down. This way you get the right black metal perspective of the crosses but with a hair mess…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    There must be a cottage industry of graphic designers writing your band name in the original Nihilist/Entombed font.

  • I’m totally on board with the drums. Satan can keep everything else about this though.