Thursday, 30 October 2014

Horrified - Descent Into Putridity (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/10/2014
Label: Memento Mori Records

‘Descent Into Putridity’ CD/DD track listing:

01. Tomb of Rebirth (04:41)
02. Narcolepsy (03:43)
03. Mortally Deceased (03:31)
04. Descent Into Putridity (05:05)
05. Buried Among Putrified Flesh (04:26)
06. Veil of Souls (05:08)
07. Repugnant Degeneration (04:32)


Welcome to the darkened recesses of old school death metal. Firmly rooted in those hallowed traditions, we have one band who twist the sickening riffs and patterns of old even further, in their never-ending worship of the extreme. Names like Morbid Angel, Autopsy, Pestilence, Cancer: these are the gods of a depraved group of individuals from Newcastle, UK. Their name is Horrified.

For a start, the band are deceptively young and fresh: mastermind Daniel Alderson started it last year as a studio project, enrolling Sam Butterfield (guitarist of Hieroglyph) for vocals. This resulted in the chaotic Carcinogenic Feasting demo, which was subsequently released on local DIY label Tombs In The Valley Productions/Torn Flesh Records. Their first ever concert was the first edition of Byker Grave, a highly successful if brief set which is available on YouTube.

For their début album Descent Into Putridity, Dan steps up to the microphone, and despite being so young his vocals already resemble the throat-ripping snarls of Martin Van Drunen (Pestilence, Asphyx) or Lars-Göran Petrov (Entombed) circa Left Hand Path, although with Dan's own demented treatment. The band are all deceptively young, and yet have already racked up an impressive amount of time in bands like Plague Rider, Winds Of Genocide, Risen Prophecy and Vacivus. This lends a maturity to their sound, yet still with the vibrant urgency that this genre requires. The album is packed with encrusted riffs, wailing solos and pummelling drums: this is a reminder of why people fell in love with death metal in the first place.??

Descent Into Putridity is scheduled for an October release via Memento Mori Records.

Horrified is:

Dan Alderson - Guitars/Vocals
Ross Oliver - Guitars
Dan Hughes - Bass
Matthew Henderson - Drums


As with all genres, the popularity of which bands are influential shifts as time goes on. Amongst the more underground death metal bands, the primary influential bands have been comprised of two main camps in recent years. On one side there is early Incantation and Autopsy and on the other is Dismember and Entombed. On The Incantation/Autopsy side, we have bands like Father Befouled, Ignivomous, and Dead Congregation. On the Dismember/Entombed side we have bands such as Black Breath, Miasmal, and Entrails. Those two camps have dominated the more old school-minded of the last several years.

In 2014, there is a new camp developing with a set of different influences. Specifically, I’m referring to Asphyx and Death, with the Death influence tending to come from the pre-‘Individual Thought Patterns’ era. Two of the year’s best albums, from Morbus Chron and Horrendous, feature these influences, along with several others. Horrified’s debut album ‘Descent Into Putridity’ draws from similar influences, along with with making use of the Sunlight Studios sound of Dismember. Horrified tend to focus on the uglier, simpler side of things as compared to Horrendous’ more melodic approach. It makes for an album that is very enjoyable, though not without its flaws.

My primary concern is that songs all too often fall apart at slower tempos, and it seems to be a drumming issue. The issue is exacerbated by the kick and snare being so prominent in the mix. A prime example can be found at about the 2:20 mark on “Narcolepsy”. There is some excellent riffing going on, but it’s less effective than it should be because the kick feels out of sync with everything else going on in the song. There’s a lot to like on the album, but the drummer tightening up his performance will be of crucial importance down the road. Even slower thrash beats are tripped up by the kick either dragging or being ahead of the downbeat, and for a band that is at this level compositionally, it presents a problem that can’t be resolved soon enough.

With that issue addressed, the album overcomes those mechanical shortcomings with some powerful death metal songwriting skills. Vocally is where the Asphyx influence is strongest, with Daniel Alderson’s style being a clear homage to Martin van Drunen, and it’s a good fit on the whole. Horrified seem to be at their best when in that relaxed thrash beat groove, even with the inconsistent drumming. What makes Horrified a bit more interesting than some of the more cut and paste old school death metal bands is their willingness to include additional musical influences from other American death metal bands, both Florida and New York.

With a nicely varied songwriting style already in place and an improved drumming performance, there is no reason we shouldn’t all be keeping Horrified in the same company as all of the bands I mentioned earlier in the years ahead. If nothing else, the future looks bright for them on future releases, and I would still recommend giving this album some of your time.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

You can pick up a DD copy here (Name your price) and CD here

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