Septage ‒ Septic Decadence Review

Goregrind and melodeath pioneers Carcass have a new EP coming out later this month. It will surely be the subject of a lot of excitement and sell quite well. It’ll probably be solid, and at worst will be a reason for Bill Steer, Jeff Walker, and company to get back on the road once there’s finally a viable vaccine for the pandemic and we can all get back to our natural habitat: the show.

Release date: October 16, 2020. Label: Me Saco Un Ojo.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it has taught us… well, it has taught us a whole ton about a lot of really important things… but in the very small, insignificant-in-the-grand-scheme realm that is gory heavy metal, this year has taught us that Carcass’s throne isn’t as secure as it once was. Several young acts evidently saw the quarantine as an opportunity to reach back to the days of splatter yore and write metal as sharp as every cutting tool their Liverpool heroes display on that album art they’ve used three times. Pharmacist found the mid-point between the Symphonies of Sickness and Necroticism sounds (complete with the gross collage art), Aspirate Coma went for more of the ultra grindy, Reek of Putrefaction approach, and the subject of this review finds a way to blend their main influence with a couple other great and disgusting sources (complete, yes, with the gross collage art).

Septage undoubtedly shares Pharmacist’s love for Symphonies, as debut EP Septic Decadence has that same perfect blend of goregrind and raw, particularly nasty and unhinged death metal. However, Septage doesn’t really use Bill Steer’s proto-melodeath riffs, instead going for extremely wild tremolo-and-blast parts, super hefty pummels, and the occasional mid-tempo lurch. It’s also stupendously performed and produced, with the drumming in particular being played with bonkers intensity and thankfully employing only natural tones. The drumming, pummeling, and occasional caveman trudge give off a bit of an Autopsy vibe, which, considering their local Copenhagen scene shouldn’t be too much of a surprise (they share members with both Hyperdontia and Taphos).

Still, that early Carcass vibe remains the dominant trait of the EP (we went over the art, right?). Also important: the songwriting is extremely slick. Each of these four tracks ‒ even the 74-second “Jeffrey Dahmer” ‒ has a bit of an arc. Septage knows when to drop a killer mid-tempo grind break, when to spiral a song into a cacophonous finish, and when to use differing vocal approaches.

And man, those vocals. The most prominent vocal approach on this album can only be described as… unbelievably phlegmy. You know that Halloween party trick where kids are blindfolded and put their hands into a bowl of cold spaghetti and told that it’s innards? Think of that, only as insanely deep and muffled gutturals. But the muffling is part of the charm, as if the vocals were recorded while the vocalist was in a vat of some putrid, unknowable sludge. There are other sounds ‒ the occasional decipherable yells or slightly punky mid-range growl ‒ but those asphyxiated gurgles are (thankfully) the dominant style. Really, super duper gross.

And so much fun. In 12 minutes Septage delivers some of the most intense, revolting, and downright smartly written gory death/grind in recent memory. Not much else to say about it. Buy this EP and gain the displeasure of your neighbors.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

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