Garroted - Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors - (9/10)
Published on May 11, 2018
With darkness as my guide…
A largely unknown band at the time, Garroted unleashed their debut demo, In the Court of Nyarlathotep in 2016. This young band surprised the hell out of a lot of death metal listeners; even the stodgy “no death metal is good after 1993” types couldn’t help but take notice. That four track demo was packed full of twisted riffs and old school sensibility, but it never lost sight of its riffs in favor of dissonance or janky compositions, as many these days do. Two years later, Garroted returns with another four track release, this one aptly titled as Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors.
In the two years since we last left Garroted, the members have steadily improved and perfected their craft. Indeed, they’ve improved to the point that this latest offering almost sounds like a new band. While In the Court of Nyarlathotep was largely impressive in its own right, it was probably due to the band’s adherence to riffs as law, with a foot in both the old school sound and the disjointed followers of Demilich that made things so pleasurable to listen to in spite of its youthful belligerence. This new offering doesn’t abandon what they’ve done before, instead they’ve built upon that foundation and have begun striking their own path.
Compositionally, Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors does not disappoint. No riff or fill or vocal line sounds forced or out of place in the least bit. Everything (yes, everything) flows naturally, be it the off-putting rhythms sandwiched between bursts of prime aggression during “Otherworldly Subversions (Part I: The Crucible)” or the brakes being slammed on during “Pandemonium (Otherworldly Subversions Part II)” that leads to a rolling, percussive break or the blasts that somehow lead into jazzy prog during “Into the Shivering Forest”. That being said, the band’s strongest track here is “Crimson Thirst” which is a nonstop rush of high speed riffing with some really gnarly dual soloing ever put to death metal. This is a multifaceted release that continuously reinvents itself despite not veering far from their original formula of twisted and eldritch death metal. Regardless, in spite of how cool their debut release, the stronger production and more competent instrumentation reveals a much more focused and virulent band.
Two of the most notable improves over the debut lie with the rhythm section. The bass seems to play a much larger role, with many notes and walks shining brightly through the din, adding a slight tech-death feel at times (though it’s fleeting). The drumming is ramped up past ten as well, with a nonstop barrage of double bass runs, blasts, and head spinning rolls that flit by in a second. It’s one of really cool performances that really require concentration to full understand everything that is going on and to focus on that frantic cymbal work that seems to tie the whole performance together nicely.
If you somehow managed to sleep on the hype that came with the debut and still haven’t bothered looking into these guys yet, correct that now. Of Damnation and Abyssal Terrors proves, beyond a doubt, that In the Court of Nyarlathotep was anything but a fluke. Garroted have improved impressively over the past two years, showing that a band can be heavily influenced by the past yet not be hindered by that. This is proof, beyond any realm of doubt, that death metal has not stagnated.