Festerguts - Heritage of Putrescent - (8/10)
Published on October 31, 2013
With a band name like Festerguts and an album titled Heritage of Putrescent there can only be one reasonable expectation going into this thing. If you’re like me, you probably guessed brutal death metal with perhaps some technical nuances that seem to be all the rage these days because, you know, it’s cool to fit in. As it turns out, I’m only partially right, because while the meat of this album is indeed brutal death metal (which is actually pretty darn good), there is also a surprisingly effective symphonic element and even operatic singing for good measure.
Perhaps I should have known better, or at least not been so surprised, considering the brutally named but not so brutally inclined Septic Flesh. Aided by other similarly tinged bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse and Ex Deo, symphonic death metal is slowly being elevated into the fashionably acceptable these days, and while Festerguts won’t revolutionize the subgenre in any way their music is still worth looking into. There is an old school gleam to the music, a dense and cloudy guitar construction that harkens to Cannibal Corpse’s Butchered at Birth, but then there is the symphonic side, where faux orchestral touches pop up in the chorus or other appropriately predictable spot to break up the dominant guitar drabble.
It’s a very straight road and you can see the horizon for miles ahead but that doesn’t make the journey any less enjoyable. In fact, although I could say that the guitars alone would suffice for a pleasant metallic excursion the symphonic tinges admittedly are a quaint addition. The first two tracks are definite highlights because they offer a possibility of what Sigh might sound like if they dabbled in death metal. Then there are the two tracks where Festerguts takes a highly integrated approach (“On the Bloodsoaked Bridal Bed” and “Mistress of Putridity”), which are clearly more ambitious in scale but fall slightly short of the moody and sinister effect they’re trying to achieve.
Perhaps, then, Festerguts should stick with their fleet footed symphonic flirtations because it’s clear where their strengths lie, unless of course they can take a step forward, in which case it would have to be one hell of a step. Don’t get me wrong, Festerguts has some great ideas sprinkled into their less than successful endeavors but compared to the album’s brutal death licks the difference in quality is all too obvious. As a result, Heritage of Putrescent doesn’t paint a clear picture as to where the band wants to go because at this point it could be in either direction, and considering this is Festerguts’ first full length in their 20 years of existence it could be quite some time before we ever find out.