Rotpit – Let There Be Rot Review

The name “Rotpit” stood out in the promo sump like an elephant turd in a kid’s wading pool. Impossible to miss and difficult to ignore, it begged critical questions. Is rotpit just another name for a grave, or is it something way more…rotten? Could it be a compost heap? Is this some kind of Earth-first green death metal? Steel doesn’t have all the answers, but he did learn that Rotpit is a side-project by current and former members of Heads of the Dead, Wombbath, Just Before Dawn, and Revel in Flesh. Their Let There Be Rot full-length debut is heavy as fook, blending early Swedeath with the slimy, vile charms of Immolation, Morbid Angel, Incantation, and the battle-tested force of Bolt Thrower. This is quite an unstable mixture, prone to sudden ignition and critical meltdown. It requires precise handling and delicate maintenance. Do these death vets have the requisite skill to keep this atrocity contained and controlled?

There’s a specific lo-fi, filthy sound I want in my death metal, and Rotpit extract it from the moldy earth and shove that loathsome putridness right in your fat face on mammoth opener “Slimebreeder.” Imagine early Godflesh and Left Hand Path era Entombed forced at sporkpoint to record with Tomb Mold and you get a sense of the ragged monstrosity poised to rain anvils and napalm upon your silent lucidity. And the rot keeps getting stinkier on killer cuts like the ginormously entertaining title track where Morbid Angel-inspired riffs slither up your leg as a 5-ton iron plate presses you into a juicy meat patty. The chorus is one of the most fun moments of 2023 and I’ll probably be arrested for belting it out in some lame-ass supermarket or overly cloistered convent. “Rottenness” is even better, with a mid-paced chug-groove powerful enough to plow through a cement factory. And those nauseating, mucilaginous riffs! How I love their moist caress! Song o’ the Year candidate right here.

Other fine moments in grotesquery arrive with the winningly titled “Beastfeaster,” where Bolt Thower-isms rise to the fore and shell your brain city into rubble. You can hear it, can’t you? BEEEAAAST…FEEEASTERRRR!! Yep, you hear it. Elsewhere, “Into the Rotpit” conjures the earliest days of Swedeath with a ragged d-beat that feels swollen and uncomfortable. Chugs, grooves, grinds, they’re all crammed in this steaming croak-pot. Special mention must be made of huge closer, “The Serenade of Rot,” which pushes into the doom-death space and feels as inexorable and unmovable as anything I’ve heard this year. Go on, kick it and see if it moves. Now go to the ER as Immcantation-friendly riffs slink and wriggle into your waxy ear holes. The best part of Let There Be Rot (besides the fact that 5 of the 9 songs include the word “rot”) is just how easy it is to enjoy despite being so hideously toxic. Over a scant 33-plus minutes, Rotpit make the most of their brutal template with very few missteps along the way. The songs are mostly short and stacked with memorable leads and hooks, and things never get bogged down in doomy plodding or tiresome blasting. Slick writing ensures repeat spins and good times with ugly sounds. The production is appropriately repellant as well, with a huge guitar tone and a murky, musty soundscape that’s cloying and foreboding.

With the well-traveled Jonny Pettersson (Massacre, Heads for the Dead, Wombbath, ex-Just Before Dawn) handling guitar and bass, you can expect a goodly amount of ear-snagging riffs that stick, and he peppers the songs with scads of scabby, eerie harmonies that reek of the sex mortuary. The songs all have that propulsive forward momentum that feels unstoppable and you won’t want them to stop. Ralf Hauber (Heads for the Dead, Revel in Flesh) delivers a highly convincing vocal performance, with as many deathly bellows and sinister cackles as are needed to put you six feet under the abandoned insane asylum. Henrik Posingis (Revel in Flesh) rounds out the power trio with a kit-brutalizing yet oddly subtle performance full of swagger and groove. Talent abounds and this threesome know how to twist the rusty knife in a superating wound.

I feel fortunate to have stumbled into Rotpit. There are a lot of horrible sounds in here, and I like them very much. If you enjoy your meat raw and bloody and your death metal rancid and infected, get down in here and Let There Be Rot. The next round of tetanus shots are on me. The cover looks like green slime, but it’s rot!

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: War Anthem
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: April 14th, 2023

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