Tumba de Carne – Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar Review

After maybe 300 reviews, I’d estimate I’ve locked up several kilobytes of server space recommending artists work with Colin Marston. As a result, I of course take full credit for all the bands that line up to record with him and receive a small monthly stipend from the Menegroth budget. But not every band has to take that advice, and since my kickback is limited by studio throughput, I’m in the market for another producer to praise/shake down. That’s where Argentina’s Tumba de Carne come in. The band sought the services of Ad Nauseam’s Andrea Petucco to master their debut Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar, and I have to say it was a great decision.

Tumba de Carne play ragged and experimental deathgrind foaming with barbarity. Their songs are alternately mired and racing, constantly shifting tempo to sprint and collapse again, heaving with a searing and pestilent breath. It’s captured by a recording not unlike what you’d get from Ad Nauseam – warm, clear, and organic, but scorched here with a heavy low-end bias befitting brutal intent. The record sounds incredible: bone-shaking yet just a bit scrappy to accentuate the group’s energetic performances. Guitarists Ivo Bisceglia and Lucas Villaba birth deathgrind riffs only to wring them with garotte dissonance, bleeding every Pig Destroyer start into a Convulsing close. Matias Fontana gurgles and howls while Nicolas Martínez interjects fret-garbled bass. Constantly shifting beats, drummer Mateo Cassullo directs them with cataract fluidity as Tumba de Carne twist and tumble through Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar’s five winding songs.

It’s Cassullo’s emphatic phrasing that makes or breaks the band. In the noisy, atmospheric squalls of “Ciego,” his heavily punctuated blast beats hit every unexpected beat, and his faltering grooves accentuate the dread and regret conjured by its dragging guitar lines. Yet on the album opener, “Errar,” Cassullo overruns the rest of the band, frenetically outplaying simple, ringing guitar lines as if the other members aren’t even there. The early breakdown in “Herida” suffers a bit from this overreach as well when Casullo needlessly keeps time, interrupting the wall of guitar noise with little pricks of percussion. But there’s great power in his cymbal-focused blasts in “Ulcera” and shuffling grooves in “Ciego”s latter half. At the peak of “Errar,” when the band catch up to Cassullo’s shifting phrases, Tumba de Carne crash through their bent measures with all the manic clarity of possession.

It’s gripping while it lasts, but Decatexis can be very difficult to keep track of. Centerpiece “Odian” ends with a fractured ode to The Destroyers of All but arrives there through a series of blind stumbles. Each time the band swap riffs in the first minute, they slip from tension to tension without development or release. When the song drops into an out-of-time breakdown at 1:30, the band continue by transitioning into a series of breakdowns and tensions that only make their way to the end-point in little chunks and pieces. On close inspection, it’s moving along, but the fractured structure, accentuated by Cassullo’s tendency to shift beats completely between phrases, creates a feeling that the band are searching through uninteresting ideas for anything to land on. Most of the record’s songs suffer from this to some extent. Tumba de Carne too often neglect the satisfying in pursuit of the strange and miss opportunities for long-term development and repetition.

Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar is a treat to hear but can be a burden to listen to. A full exploration of Tumba de Carne’s ambitions will arrive only when the band can more judiciously deploy their strengths, building their fragmented phrases and unexpected twists into compelling long-form songs. There are moments in Decatexis // Perpetuo Altar where I am thrilled to hear hints of the garbled rhythmic anarchy of Frontierer or the wretched batterings of Plebeian Grandstand deployed in a new context, one that Tumba de Carne can surely call their own. But the band must back up their unique sound with compelling music. The niftiest tricks, the best recording and the most careful production elevate great albums – despite Tumba de Carne’s best efforts, they have yet to produce one.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 10 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Lavadome Productions
Websites: facebook.com/tumbadecarne | bandcamp.com/tumbadecarne
Releases Worldwide: September 24th, 2021

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