Noose Rot - The Creeping Unknown - (9/10)
Published on April 14, 2018
Does this mean I’m not being hanged?
You hear an eerie melody from outside the door of the tomb. You must know what lies behind the door, so you lightly push it open. As you do, a muffled pummeling begins, and you can see a dim light shining under the door at the bottom of the stairs. As you descend the stairs, your fear rises, but your curiosity is overpowering. When you reach the bottom of the stairs, you are about to push the door open. As you reach your hand out, the stone door blasts from its place, crushing you beneath its weight, mangling you in the process. And you love it. This is what it is like entering the world of Noose Rot on their debut EP, The Creeping Unknown. The opening track begins with that eerie, faraway recording style that sounds muffled in an ancient crypt. An eerie melody kicks it off—unusual for this generally amelodic album—that gives way to a grinding riff that explodes at the command of a devastating drum fill, opening up a spectacular death/doom riff-fest.
Noose Rot plays a filthy style of death/doom that strikes a beautiful balance between the two styles. This is not a death/doom album where the doom gets the better of the two—make no mistake: this beast is firmly rooted in death metal. Most of the riffs are slow, grinding, and tremolo picked. Those that aren’t tend to be supremely heavy and palm-muted or have a nice sense of groove a la Bolt Thrower. The best example of the Bolt thrower-esque groove is likely on the title track, where the main riff carried throughout the song would almost get you dancing if it weren’t so busy clutching your throat. Noose Rot has a knack for producing terror-inducing music. The riffs and vocals are unsettling. They choose their notes carefully to be as creepy as possible while never sacrificing pure, barbaric force. The closing track, “Bound in a Dark House” may demonstrate this best. The intro riff is a slow, twisting mass of death metal mastery, but once the chorus arrives, plodding chords come in while Adam Clemans shreds his vocal chords puking out the lyrics. This song also has some of that melody that I mentioned earlier that comes in so rarely. When it does on this song, it works very well. While the guitars slither around each other playing a twin lead, the bass dances around them to create some beautiful instrumental interplay. Throughout the rest of the album, the bass tone is disgusting—it’s one of those tones that almost doesn’t even sound like a bass anymore, but some sort of gurgling monstrosity. And it is an absolutely essential piece of the filthy sound presented here. The vocals are not out in front of the mix, keeping with the sepulchral atmosphere. Vocals are low and venomous. They’re often double tracked to create an otherworldly sound, or one of the vocal tracks trails on a little longer than the other. These facets, combined with the heavy dose of reverb, create a horrifying and compelling vocal experience. Overall, the production is stellar; every instrument is very audible, but the sound is still raw and huge.
I really can’t say a bad word about this EP except that it is too short. Every time I listen to it, it goes by in a flash and I have to start again. Obviously this criticism turns out to be a complement for the band, since it means that I am enthralled by their sound and want more of it. Noose Rot have produced a very exciting first entry in their discography, and it has left me drooling like a zombie for more, while I nurse the wounds the music has inflicted on me.