Cosmic Putrefaction - At the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm - (7.5/10)
Published on April 23, 2019
Sometimes it’s refreshing to hear a band that can only really be described as “vanilla” or otherwise being a prefix-free member of a particular genre. Not technical, Swedish, progressive, melodic, half-thrash, or so on but in this case say, just “death metal”. Cosmic Putrefaction is one of those bands that fulfill a satisfying niche like Hyperdontia in that it just sounds like general and almost nondescript death metal but approached with a good deal of aggression, drive, and general finesse. Granted the band’s mysterious aesthetic and its sole member having been in some more experimental acts won’t necessarily give off that image but the second you finish an oddly long introductory ambient-ish track, the album’s vicious intent soon becomes lethally clear. Rooted heavily in the spontaneously explosive energy of early 90’s death metal made from a combo of Scandinavian and American sounds, Cosmic Putrefaction’s At the Threshold of the Greatest Chasm is one of the most savagely blunt and intense albums released this year. However does it hold up beyond its initial shock effect and join the festering giants of today or remain obscured by their shadow?
Cosmic Putrefaction’s sound can be described very simply; a few ripping riffs crash into one another (and the listener’s chances of survival) at absurdly high speeds, break apart for tempo changes where doomier patterns vary up and conclude the song, then rip away into a repeat of earlier riffs or simply burn away from the vicious aftermath. The debut reminds much of grindcore albums from the incessantly droning after-image strum riff intensity that comprises the bulk of these tracks. Much of the riffing alternates beetween vicious punk-like d-beat buffered chords and almost Tucker era Morbid Angel style racing tremolo riffs, leading to a solid balance of fragmented chunking and low-key melody tinged malevolence, sometimes throwing in quasi-doomy disjointed patterns at slower speeds to better contrast the sudden shifts. At times it reminds a little of cult San Diego hellmongers Ascended Dead from the nonstop focused intensity though by comparison Cosmic Putrefaction’s songwriting doesn’t feature as many sudden detours and shifts in pacing and intensity. This is much more 90’s death metal oriented as well, taking the ingredients of two major European and American schools of the genre but executing with a level of high speed violence almost comparable to Angelcorpse in how they’ve made the barest genre essentials muscular and savage enough to put more modern compatriots on watch. This album is like flicking through a bunch of high-intensity Hollywood action scenes one after the other and riding almost entirely on visceral thrill and speed of its performance alone.
Unfortunately if there’s one problem with this album it’s that a lot of it kind of passes in a blur except around the end when it changes towards a more nuanced and calculated approach to songwriting. While its opening tracks are solid, a lot of it can come off as somewhat stilted or even forced. A bunch of the parts where they slow down and add him some filthier, thicker, slow riffage is cool by itself but doesn’t really hold up super well on repeated listens. A lot of these portions while not bad sound like they were put just for the sake of being slow doomy riffs and just kind of well… happen. They don’t cripple the songs but at the same time, they don’t really feel like they build on the vicious impaling horror of the album’s full barrage guitar work. Their riffing actually would’ve benefitted from more tenacity rather than the unintentional toning down effect these slower riffs tend to bring where they suddenly become a doomy band because that’s the atmospheric evil OSDM thing to do. While many of the songs are fairly short, they end a little too hastily especially due to these slower segments. Many times I want to hear them at least push them further and further explore what they hint at to make them worth it in the long run though in the album’s final two songs they actually do this for the most part and subsequently show us a strong vision of what they could really become.
In spite of these shortcomings, Cosmic Putrefaction have managed to find a satisfying take on death metal captures everything great about its early 90’s glory years but at the same time does so without falling into an easily pigeonholed gap. It definitely does need some extra work in terms of how it balances out contrasts in riffing style and speed as well as a large chunk of the songs feeling a little too bare bones and struggling with making sense of certain portions. However on a front of pure extremity and violence it’s incredibly satisfying in how it approaches the genre with a gory intensity that can rival many brutal death metal acts yet with very few nods to modernization. Hopefully future releases will address these shortcomings while further building on the strengths as a full fledged version of this album would be a new monument to the worst monstrosities the genre is capable of.
You listen to the album and purchase its at I, Voidhanger’s official bandcamp.