"To Bathe From The Throat Of Cowardice"

(Century Media)

01. The Parting of a Neck
02. Crowned in Retaliation
03. Legacy of Contempt
04. I Drown Nightly
05. The Rope Calls You Brother
06. A Gentle Gift
07. Violence, a Worthy Truth
08. Victim
09. Hive Lungs
10. Pain Will Define Their Death

RATING: 8.5/10

Here we go again, then. Yet another absolutely face-smashing death metal record that adds fuel to the notion that the genre is experiencing another golden era. VITRIOL are from Portland, Oregon, a city known for its open-minded approach to heaviness and extremity. Whether the locals are ready for this insane onslaught is another matter, because while "To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice" is undeniably inventive and bereft of cliché, it's also one of the darkest, most twisted and most remorselessly extreme death metal albums in living memory. If you've spent the last couple of months wrecking your neck to DISENTOMB's unstoppable "The Decaying Light", then here's your dessert: VITRIOL share the Australians' gift for wringing extra darkness from every drop in tempo and injecting every blast with a venomous intensity that takes the breath away, but these songs are even further detached from the modern DM blueprint, with a churning, malevolent undercurrent that betrays black metal roots and a sincere desire to unsettle.

If you make it through the first two tracks without losing your shit completely, you're a better human being than me. Both "The Parting of a Neck" and "Crowned in Retaliation" take a blitzkrieg approach, with machine-gun kicks and rolling waves of high-speed crunch, vocalist Adam Roethlisberger's dead-eyed roar erupting from the eye of the storm. "Legacy of Contempt" is equally bewildering, but its plunges into excoriating mid-tempo take VITRIOL somewhere slightly more accessible, albeit still with the constant threat of a violent, bloody death emanating from every riff and growl. "I Drown Nightly" is even more terrifying, with shades of IMMOLATION's abyssal riff vortex, clanging, blackened dissonance and more divebomb squeals than a Kerry King tribute show. It's all horribly/brilliantly claustrophobic and reaches a zenith of menace and madness during unhinged centerpiece "The Rope Calls You Brother": with their muscular battery extended to a more indulgent six minutes, VITRIOL stretch out across crazed tempo changes and some of the filthiest, sludgiest riffs of the year, with little syncopated flourishes hammering home this band's apparent mastery of their craft.

An air-raid siren ushers in the militaristic start of "A Gentle Gift", a song that takes off at an alarming pace; an all-out kamikaze berserker attack that marries the unstoppable, grinding forward motion of a tank swarm to the slamming, lobotomized myopia of brutal death metal at its most willfully atonal and fucked up. Again, as with that astonishing DISENTOMB album, "To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice" ticks every conceivable death metal box while also sounding like a genuine step forward for the whole genre. Once your ears acclimatize to the relentless brutality of the whole thing, the subtly skewed riffs that propel the likes of "Violence, a Worthy Truth" and "Hive Lungs" forward begin to leap out; compelling evidence that VITRIOL are not just deathly ones to watch, but one of the most important bands operating in the scene today. If this is just the beginning, then whatever comes next promises to be an absolute abomination. Bring it on.


To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).