My summer vacations weren’t very… productive. Here’s a quick laundry list of my early Grymmness: blowing on Nintendo cartridges to get that damn pink screen to stop flashing, trying (and failing) to learn how to skateboard, playing guitar in a proto-metalcore band that would make early Converge shake their heads in embarrassment, swimming in a ice-cold pool in New Hampshire, etc. Needless to say, my summers were for lounging and goofing off. So when I ask how was your summer and you say, “Oh, it was okay, I just spent the entire summer writing, recording, screaming, playing, programming drums, producing, mastering, and even doing the artwork for the debut album of my one-band progressive black metal band. Nothing major!”, you are either: a) gleefully full of shit, or b) multi-talented Irish lad Andrew “Manshrew” Millar, sole proprietor of Patrons of the Rotting Gate, and mastermind behind their impressive self-released debut, The Rose Coil.
Once the tremolo-picked ambience of instrumental opener “Tri Tvare” ends with a scream, the chaos bleeds forth into “Tri Zaveti,” bringing with it some dirty Deathspell Omega and Opethian goodness. The middle even shows a bit of a Meshuggah polyrhythmic dirge with expertly programmed drums, amplifying the uneasiness significantly. Millar’s screams, though a bit muffled, rise above the chaos like a mad overlord, bleeding fire and hate with every fiber of his being. VERY impressive stuff. And with a few exceptions, it really doesn’t let up during the album’s duration. “Carnassial” lurches like a hungry perverse beast, with some crazy good programmed drumming with fills and cymbal work that would make even the drum gods green with bitter envy, and some bizarre, unsettling background guitars that only add to the queasy Blut Aus Nord-like feeling before segueing into the tribal, introspective “Secrets of the Soil,” showing Millar’s clean singing ability, catchy bass and guitar lines, and overwhelming atmosphere. “A Perfect Suicide” brings out a Katatonia feel in the drumming and guitars, evoking despair and solitude, before losing its utter shit at the 1:52 mark, bringing with it some twinkling piano lines amidst the blasts and tremolo flourishes.
All the songs on here are incredibly strong on their own, but to really feel the immensity of the album, you should take it all in during a single (or more) sitting. This album has some ridiculously good flow, so losing yourself in The Rose Coil‘s grasp will take little to no effort at all for the album’s ten proper tracks. There are also two cover tracks on here. Millar’s cover of Gorgut‘s “The Battle of Chamdo” is especially noteworthy, as the original is a complex track released just a before The Rose Coil. Millar expertly wrote, tabbed out the guitar lines, programmed the drums… wait, what did you say? The original was originally written and performed on only stringed instruments? Why yes, yes they were! Millar took the time over the weeks (yes, WEEKS) between Colored Sands‘s release and his own album’s publication to painstakingly recreate all the melodies from the stringed instruments of the original, converted them to guitar, added the appropriate programmed drums, and performed them all in THAT short amount of time, and it sounds phenomenal. Ponder that for a bit. Orgone‘s “Caress of Vines” is given the same amount of care and attention.
Speaking of care and attention, one thing I noticed about the promo copy I received may seem minor, but must be noted. Upon transferring this record to my phone for listening purposes, words popped up on my screen. Upon further investigation, these were the lyrics to each of The Rose Coil‘s ten proper songs (the covers weren’t displayed for obvious reasons)! It’s like Millar wanted us to fully experience each and every aspect of the album, from the performance to the beautiful art, to the amazing lyrics, and I must say that this is pretty fucking cool! Record labels, take word of this for your label’s releases. This is a cool little addition to an already awesome experience.
I’ve rambled on long enough about how good this album is [Yes you have, since this is supposed to be a short synopsis! — Steel Druhm], and how sorry I am to have missed this for a review. The Rose Coil is available through Patrons of the Rotting Gate‘s Bandcamp page. From different interviews, Millar apparently disclosed that he has enough material ready for at least two more albums. If they are anything at all like The Rose Coil, you’re in for a helluva rollercoaster ride which will make you envious of your own pathetic summer vacation.