Put simply, Rot of Ages finds the buzzsaw in good hands. It won’t bowl you over with inventiveness. But a good bowl-over will be had nonetheless.
Good editing is at least half the battle when delving in orthodoxy. And outside of some excellent clean singing in the title track, Rot of Ages is decidedly traditionalist in the Bloodbath, tribute-to-the-Gods sort of way. It’s also fun, courtesy of some pretty great editing.
Forty minutes of buzzsaw riffs and blastbeats sounds about right. With something this straight forward, you really want to make a good early and quick impression. Abscession do exactly that with “Rat King Crawl,” which hits all the Swedish OSDM high notes with a barreling panache. The nifty little solo at the 1:30 mark is the song’s coy smile, the party in the back to the general stompiness’ business in the front. This duality is a common theme that keeps Rot of Ages from sounding one-note.
As visceral a listening experience as Rot of Ages proves to be—the pace itself is largely unrelenting—Abscession plays a relatively free-spirited form of OSDM, with persistent melodicism and a willingness to veer briefly outside the norm on songs such as the title track, “When the Guillotine Falls,” and the closing instrumental track. So as much as the band borrows from the buzzsaw blueprint on the more obviously OSDM “Rains of Death,” “Final Furnace,” and “War Machine,” Abscession isn’t afraid to color outside the lines to keep things interesting.
OSDM has seemingly reached something resembling a peak in popularity. Fortunately for bands like Abscession, OSDM revivalism is a mostly boring practice that has produced better merch than music. That isn’t to say that there aren’t some great bands being hailed by media outlets as OSDM. But the boring outweigh the not boring, and they come bearing superior merchandise. Not true for Abscession, of course, who not only offer a tote bag, coffee mug, and sweat pants but also gift the world ten awesome songs on Rot of Ages.