Album Review: Deteriorot - The Rebirth
Reviewed by Sam Jones
When it comes to giants of death metal, one criminally underrated yet present name that often gets forgotten is Deteriorot, having been consistently present and ongoing since 1990. Hailing from New Jersey initially, now out of North Carolina, United States, Deteriorot may just be one of extreme metal’s most underrated acts, having unleashed a score of Demos and Eps before finally releasing In Ancient Beliefs in 2001. Cut to 2010 and we get their sophomore record, The Faithless, before releasing their 2015 EP, Ceremonies Of Blasphemy. Now, primed for a July release window, Deteriorot are set to finally reveal their third full length work, the aptly named The Rebirth, through Faithless Records. Their first studio work in some time, this was one of my most hotly anticipated releases and therefore, I was rearing to dive straight in.
An introduction to the record in this instance is a worthwhile inclusion. It’s only short and is far from anything we haven’t heard before, but knowing this is Deteriorot’s first full length work in thirteen years this opening piece feels like the band roaring back into life after such a gap between studio releases. It isn’t long before the band throw us right into the mire of The Rebirth and, considering how this album barely scrapes past the half hour mark, it’s not surprising why. You have to respect, however, the grounded approach the band took to this record. It’s been such a long time since their last studio work yet the band dove into The Rebirth as if barely any time had eclipsed since 2010. There’s no fanfare or especial importance applied to their songwriting; it’s old school, gritty death metal for us to sink our teeth into and I think that should be commended.
I loved the choice of guitar tone that the band went for on this record; it has this murky, commanding vibe to it that forces your attention to maintain its fixation from start to finish. The tone itself isn’t overtly downtuned, it’s pretty typical in this instance for death metal but what helps it stand apart from their contemporaries, is the additional power that’s feeding into every lick and riff thrust at us. It’s as if someone in the mixing studio decided to let the instrumentation fully loose with neither chains nor shackles to tie to the ground. The soundscape is monstrously large as the band assume every inch and corner this record throws up, but it’s still a grounded work as the band have chosen not to subject us to anything too crushing. As a result, through the developing songwriting, we never feel like the band’s onslaught could be deemed as too great or cavernous. It’s just the right line between blunt-force impact and gargling tone.
More than anyone else within Deteriorot, this is Paul Zavaleta’s band, having rearranged the band with all new members for this release and going into the future. It therefore makes sense as to why his vocals feature such a prominent position within the mix, this has been his project since 1990. However it’s great to acknowledge how his vocals work alongside the riffs and drumming going on; this isn’t some ego trip, the vocals may be at the forefront of the band’s performance but they don’t crowd our attention. They don’t get so much in our face that we can’t appreciate the rest of the band’s ability to imbue the record with their own performances. Vocally, it’s a particularly deep delivery emphasising the guttural nature of Zavaleta’s capacity to still utter such deep tones after so long, and they aren’t fast either; the band may harness instances of speed from time to time but the vocals almost act as a speedometer, keeping the band’s pacing in check so as not to lose their audience at any conceivable moment.
That’s half the reason why I really took to this record; Deteriorot champion the notion behind old school death metal that slow is king. For the most part, the band take the stance that whilst speed is nice to consider, they will reach the end of their songwriting when they get there. On the whole, Deteriorot are more than happy to let us really feel like a four minute track actually takes four minutes for us to satisfactorily go from beginning to end. There’s no rush inherent here, for the band understand the album isn’t going to take up much of your time so why race is from one track to the next? In this way, it’s much more advantageous for audiences to feel like they’re getting the most out of each second we’re engaged with The Rebirth for. Such is the way they’ve written these songs you’ll find yourself naturally bobbing your head along. The pace and rhythm the band establish just feels natural.
In conclusion, I really liked this record. It doesn’t do anything special nor is there anything new that Deteriorot haven’t included before throughout their career but it’s just a well written piece of death metal that does precisely what you’d want Deteriorot to provide us with. It’s nine tracks of old school death metal deliciously delivered by one of its most underrated names. The fact that it doesn’t take up much of our time is an additional bonus too, for it guarantees numerous returns and relistens, hardly surpassing a half hour in length. It might not be new under the sun but anyone who knows death metal will know when it’s done right; The Rebirth is one such record. I’d certainly be open to more from Deteriorot.