“Down the river you will see, where all the bodies will be. Innocent people washed out clean, so come and join this fine cuisine.”
Left to Rot’s “River of Dead Bodies”
Hailing from Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico, Left to Rot follow up their debut release, Bathe in Blood, with another sepulcher of fetid death metal, with Crown of Deception. Uncompromising and fashioned in old-school aesthetics, Crown of Deception hearkens to the early, brutal days of the genre while still coming off fresh in execution and attitude.
There are 10 tracks on the CD, each of which ranges from three to four minutes. Songs are intense, filled with a thundering rhythm section, plenty of guitar acrobatics, and devastating vokills.
Percussion is concussive, with the master-blasters emphasizing speed while the bass provides low-end punishment for the ears. The low-end reverberations are felt more than heard, as the guitars are placed at center stage. Distortion is the name of the game here, with two six-string axes downtuned low for maximum effect. Hooks are of the screeching variety, as are the solos. Rhythms are chunky and thick, giving all the songs that death-metal grind that is a signature of the old-school approach.
Left to Rot also exhibit a bit of a progressive streak, using acoustic guitars to augment some of the songs to good effect. The acoustic guitars are not overused or overplayed, but rather are used to give some of the tracks added spice. There are hints of thrash metal in some of the guitar structures, as well as a hint of NWOBHM in that the guitars switch off, with one taking rhythm duties while the other sets down either a counter riff or a lead (on songs such as “Inverted Tracks” and “River of Dead Bodies”). The band also uses video recordings from horror films on some of the tracks. On this album, the bulk of the video clips come from The Exorcist III.
Lyrically, these dudes cover an array of morbid topics, such as self-mutilation (“Mutilate Thyself”), medical madness (“Perverse Dissection”), cannibalism (“River of Dead Bodies”), and violence (“Gutted Profusely”). On this album, the band also criticizes Christianity, with tracks such as the title track (referring to the crown of thorns), “The Hypocritical Stench,” and “All This Bleeding.”
Fans of old-school death metal driven by modern sensibility with definitely dig Left to Rot’s Crown of Deception. If you are a fan of death metal in New Mexico, then you owe you allegiance to Left to Rot. Raise your fist high when spinning this wretched platter, titled Crown of Deception.