Corpsessed – Succumb to Rot Review

I smell a rotten conspiracy afoot. Elden Ring dropped on February 25th, but had been in development for years prior, with tons of sneak peeks and previews pebbled along the way. I somehow missed every single one of those teasers, but looking upon this artwork for Corpsessed‘s fourth release, Succumb to Rot, I refuse to believe the Finnish five-banger missed a damn thing. There’s no way in Leyendell that this bloodied cover isn’t a homage to the game’s gorgeous Caelid region—the color palette alone is a damn near perfect match. That area of the map also happens to be a hot bed for an insidious infection called “scarlet rot.” Lo and behold, the thematic thread woven throughout Succumb to Rot is… you guessed it…. fucking rot. I rest my case.

Regardless of whether Succumb to Rot is actually an album about Caelid1 or Elden Ring at all, it’s fetid, gruesome, mutton-and-mead death metal. The cornerstone of that sort of death metal is riffs, riffs, and MOAR riffs. As one of the more underrated bands in the current cornucopia of cadaveric cavern curators, Corpsessed concoct some of the coolest, catchiest riffs in the business. Succumb to Rot is saturated with such riffs, and makes use of a tried and trve sonic palette to complement them. Thick guitar tones reminiscent of Incantation and Phrenelith; chunky bass guitar; even chunkier drums not dissimilar to those of Tomb Mold; titanic caveman roars; the formula is simple, but it bloody works.

These lithe and lethal thirty-six minutes pummeled my supple, spongy body into a compressed, notably worse for wear spongy body. While introductory opener “Succumb to Rot” is very that, it leads to unstoppable beast “Relentless Entropy,” an apt title for what’s essentially the soundtrack to getting brutally murderdeathkilled for an eternity2. Onward the ramp of awesomeness steepens, every successive act piling sickening riff atop sickening riff, until reaching an apex at “Spiritual Malevolence” and “Calling Void.” This dynamic duo represents a collaborative high watermark for Succumb to Rot. Beginning somewhat calmly to lure you into a false lull, the couplet soon take to tearing limb from limb with deathly delight for just over nine minutes total. Even so, that stretch is so effortlessly recitable that I’ll probably still be humming their refrains on my deathbed.

Put plainly, Corpsessed are masters of making death metal fucking fun and goddamn memorable. Guitarists Jyri Lustig and Matti Mäkelä engage in quite the clinic, alternating between riffs so addicting they ought to be heavily regulated by the government and leads that will time warp the most discerning fans back to death metal circa 1991 (“Death-Stench Effluvium”). Tuomas Kulmala provides a thick undercurrent of bass grumble, and while his performance isn’t well defined in the mix, it’s responsible for much of the muscularity in the low end (“Pneuma Akathartos”). Drummer Jussi-Pekka Manner pounds the skins as if the purpose of playing the drums was simply to beat them into splinters, but he does so with strategy and finesse, affording the album the kind of rhythmic depth some of Corpsessed colleagues lack (“Spiritual Malevolence”). And of course, the album wouldn’t be half as monstrous without Niko Matilainen’s meaty roars (gestures broadly to the entire album).

Where Succumb to Rot leaves room for growth also happens to be where I least care about growth in this subset of extreme metal: innovation and novelty. This is death metal masterfully executed, but it lacks any kind of distinguishing factor to elevate it beyond what we already expect to hear. Perhaps affording more room in this overly reverberated mix for the bass guitar might illuminate an imaginative contribution that I can’t discern. If Corpsessed created another swell of insanely entertaining riffs right about where “Profane Phlegm” enters, rather than coasting on the momentum of the album’s midsection until the album’s close, the final third would feel much stronger than it currently does. The point is, there are minor missed opportunities scattered throughout Succumb to Rot that hold it back from greatness—and a guaranteed slot on my Top 10. My recommendation: don’t let any of that hold you back from repeatedly ripping this rotted record until nothing remains inside that thick cranium of yours but festering brain yoghurt.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dark Descent Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 22nd, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. It definitely is. –TheKenWord, resident expert in all truths unverified.
  2. Get reviews in on time and no one gets murderdeathkilled. – Steel
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