We have, in our pages, covered some really good death metal bands from South America. It’s a region that’s ripe with the kind of bludgeoning obliteration that the genre is known for. We can now count Chile’s Soulrot as a contender for these same accolades on their debut full length Nameless Hideous Manifestations. There’s a lot of familiarity in this bands sound, particularly of the older persuasion, and while it’s true the glory days of death metal and Swedeath have been well-tread, Soulrot use it as the foundation for a timeless sound.
The fact that Soulrot originally formed back in 1993 says a lot about their disposition. Entombed released Wolverine Blues that year and likewise for Dismember’s Indecent and Obscene so to say the influences were strong would be an understatement. But the band was short lived and disbanded almost as soon as it began. 2013 saw new life and with 2014’s demo Horrors From Beyond they had truly returned and in fine form. The Revelations EP would follow in 2016 and here we are with their debut, finally.
The gates fling open with the hard charging “Those Who Dwell In the Abyss,” guttural growls compliment the d-beat rhythms struck early on. But it’s in this song’s back half where the band get nasty with lumbering and muscular death metal. The balancing act of sandpaperesque tonality and groove is notable as it drives much of this album, “Incorporeal Autopsy” and “Ectoplasmic Revelations” are both great examples. The latter begins with arguably the best grooving riffs on the whole album and the former combines catchy verses with hyper speed brutality. And really this is what makes the album such a treat to listen to — the songwriting keeps the listener on their toes, never wastes a second and offers an unforgettable experience.
The production here is on the money for this type of death metal. It’s clear enough so nothing is missed but has a very raw and earthy feel to it that speaks volumes for the cavernous atmosphere throughout. And then there’s the amazing artwork by Juanjo Castellano that harkens back to classic death metal and a time when album art was just as important as what was on the inside. Plus the album is the perfect length, striking hard and fast without overstaying its welcome. With all that said, Soulrot offer up a complete package of wickedly good death metal, inside and out.
On Nameless Hideous Manifestations Soulrot make it a point to hook listeners from the outset and keep them not only entertained but firmly engrossed for 37 minutes. Even though the early 90’s are a distant memory, this album is wonderfully nostalgic but one of its many successes lies in the fact that it never crosses into rehash territory. Instead, it offers an opportunity for a fresh school of death metal fans to hear what is possible when old and new collide.