Rothadás – Kopár hant…az alvilág felé Review

There’s something so soothing about the arrival of the fall season. Although the Pacific Northwest is usually known for its mild, temperate climate, this summer was a hellish nightmare. Day after day, we were subjected to the scorching rays of the sun, with nary a hint of our stereotypical rain to be found. The air reeked of wildfire smoke and the hot, sick scent of sweat and body odor. There wasn’t enough Gold Bold to keep up with my moderate-to-severe thigh chafing, and each time I applied that magical substance to my nether regions, its cool, minty aroma would waft into my nostrils, and I would comfort myself with the words of House Stark: Winter is coming. The past week has been magical. Days of heavy rain mixed with days of clear, chilly weather have done wonders to my mood. Cue the magical days of doom and gloom! Death/doom and gloom, that is. My fall of 2019 was filled with releases from quality death/doom acts like Nightfell, Sempiternal Dusk, and Mortiferum, and with the latter poised to release their sophomore platter in November—not to mention 1914‘s imminent invasion—I’m hoping that this debut from Hungary’s Rothadás can kick off another season of pulverizing horror.

Like most death/doom acts, Rothadás are just as much about atmosphere as they are songcraft. While those two factors aren’t necessarily separate from one another, they generally form a spectrum, and opener and embedded single “Utolsó kenet” immediately demonstrates where Kopár hant…az alvilág felé will fall on that line. The track spends the vast majority of its time in slow doom territory, establishing a foreboding atmosphere while occasionally dropping into faster death metal passages complete with the warped tremolo riffs for which Incantation is known. The low growls of Lambert Lédeczy sound as if they’re emanating from that sepulcher on the cover, adding to the weighty aesthetic of the band’s sound and helping the song set the tone for the rest of the record.

And whether or not you like that tone will determine how you feel about the rest of Kopár hant…az alvilág felé, because the remainder of the tracks follow an eerily similar formula. The middle three songs are all solid with great death metal sections spread throughout their (long) runtimes. “Koporsószeg” and “Kripta” win out as the more effective of the trio, but “Sírkö,” situated right smack dab in the middle, ends up being the least memorable track on the album for me by plodding on a lot longer than it needs to. The album closes in strong fashion with the 12-minute “Temetö,”1 a hulking beast that justifies its length by striking the right balance between mood and music. Lédeczy uses some higher screams towards the end of the track, lending an air of desperation as the guitars play a somber melody to finish things with an atmosphere of hopelessness.

 

And while that atmosphere works really well over much of the album, some of the songs themselves fall a bit flat. There are some great moments to be found in each of the five tracks, but the song lengths and the repetitive nature of the music keep most of them from landing a killer blow. “Koporsószeg” is the shortest track here at just under 7 minutes and also my favorite, keeping the meandering and repetition at a minimum, but “Temetö” proves that they can nail the longer numbers when they find the sweet spot in their songwriting. The production ends up being one of the strong points of the album. The cavernous vocals resonate like a productive pneumonia cough, and the guitar tone is deliciously sinister, suiting both the chugs and the twisting tremolo riffs. Recommended tracks would be “Koporsószeg” and “Temetö.”

Overall, Rothadás plays music that perfectly fits the onset of nature’s season of death and decay, although a bit of editing and variety would go a long way to separate them from the death/doom pack. Kopár hant…az alvilág felé demonstrates that the band has tremendous potential for success in the genre, even if this album falls a bit short of the mark.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Me Saco Un Ojo Records
Website: rothadasdeathdoom.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: October 12th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. You say ‘Temetö,’ I say ‘Temetö.’
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