Mutilatred – Determined to Rot Review

In the ever-spewing world of brutal death metal, many bands push the boundaries of what low-IQ, shit-shoveling grooves can offer us—not Mutilatred though. These Toledo slam boys offer nothing more than what you would expect from the caveman school of death metal: riffs to keep the pit churning, skulls numbing, and hammers raising. When they hit the scene in 2015 with Dissecting Your Future, chug-junkies shotgunned the knuckle-dragging numbers like natty lights in the parking lot of a $5 show. In 2019, they also managed to squirt out a little EP—Ingested Filth—which helped load their tour-heavy existence with a few extra tunes. Then 2020 happened. Left to fester at home in a jar too small to contain their riffs, Determined to Rot represents the frothy, lid-bulging Mutilatred brew of a couple vile years. Does Determined to Rot hit like a happy hour Pabst special or the discount oyster shooters that have been off ice since the night before?

In case you didn’t get it by now, Mutilatred does not play slobbery death serenades punctuated with shred heroics (like Suffocation et al)they aim first and foremost to riff, rumble, and reek, Determined to Rot indeed. Instead, Mutilatred leans more toward the modern Pyrexia sound or the bouncy, breathful burp-bops of Abraded (sans any of the vocal abandon, for better or worse). Determined to Rot is so stripped down that guitarists Patrick McDonagh (also vocalist) and Drew Arnold squeak out only a few low impact pinch harmonics and eschew melodic leads entirely. In this sense, the hyper-focus of rhythm layer upon rhythm layer mimics the appeal of groove or nu metal, with McDonagh’s unintelligible gurgles taking on a rap-like cadence to propel many a grinding chorus (“Everyone’s Doing Shitty,” “In and Out of the Grave”). 

Unfortunately, the singular identity of this assortment of grotesque giddy-ups results in a meaningless structure throughout the album. Using a creepy radio static, Mutilatred divides their opus into three sections (closing with “In and Out of the Grave,” “Fuck Everyone,” and the title track). In each section ] they jam a little, clang a little, stomp a little, and then use said static as a breather, culminating in the far too extended acrid ambience of the 8 minute closer “Determined to Rot.” In other, more developed forms of world-building, these breaks might assist in building tension to a melodic twist, guitar solo, wretched vocal spotlight—something to tilt back heads and close eyes in awe. However, in Mutilatred’s less sophisticated world, that twist is just another slam after the final static break that’s longer than the two songs before it. The truth is, any track ending this album would have felt the same.

Despite quite a few of the songs lacking a true identity because every layer exists as a rhythm, drummer Clay Lowe lays down a bountiful performance. His snare is the sole weapon that cuts through the low-end mess and guides the listener through much of this bogged-down journey. Against these lumbering low-end forces, Lowe carries songs like “Everyone’s Doing Shitty” and “Fuck Everyone”1 with a marching band like bravado. His clangy snare hits also demand attention and provide much needed acceleration to riffs that drag like a broken grocery cart wheel (“Sickened to Death,” “Veins Kind of Clogged”). And, kit on full display, with agile tom rolls and delicately placed blasts, Lowe adds a freshness to album highlights “Eroded Brain” and “Blood Machine.”

Rating an album like Determined to Rot is almost as tough as it is to make out poor Eli Fakes’ bass through the entire album. Mutilatred isn’t looking to rewrite the book on brutal death metal—they just want to slam, jam, and churn pits. Undoubtedly, fans of this band will enjoy what Mutilatred has put out. And, with skip buttons ready for the baked-in interludes, those looking for a no frills rumble and thrill will be mostly pleased. Mutilatred has enough strong material here to help round out their short opener’s set, but they still need to build a bit more into their sound to be the main act.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Redefining Darkness
Websites: bandcamp |
Releases Worldwide: May 13th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. They’ve graduated from their previous songs “Fuck Everything” and “Fuck You.” Subtlety abound.
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