Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Cerebral Rot’s Excretion of Mortality and Almanac Beer Company’s Cherry Sournova.
The Tunes: Cerebral Rot’s Excretion of Mortality
Much like Aerosmith, I am back in the saddle again, and what better way to kick off my return to form than with a new album from one of my favorite labels going? Yes, it’s 20 Buck Spin time yet again, and also the return of Cerebral Rot to the center stage of this column. Last time I featured this band, I described them as a band that ‘definitely conjur up the aural equivalent of your brain leaking out of your nose’, and I’m pleased to say that on Excretion of Mortality, the band’s second full-length, there has been no watering down of that aesthetic. This is death metal that burbles like a tar pit, steeped in a kind of swampy atmosphere that recalls more of bayous and bogs than the evergreens of the band’s native Seattle. From the vocals positively dripping with reverb, to the nasty pinch harmonic riff in “Spewing Purulence,” to the absolute insanity that is the cover art to this beast, Excretion of Motality is filthy, knuckle-dragging death metal to the core, yet executed with an expertise that many bands that play at this style of death metal don’t have. What stands out to me about this album, and Cerebral Rot’s music as a whole, is the way they make use of sudden tempo changes to whip the listener to-and-fro, going from neck-breaking stomp to furious blast beats at the drop of a hat, and creating lots of exciting dynamic changes through each and every song. There are very few moments Excretion didn’t hold my attention, even through it’s eleven minute closer “Crowning the Disgustulent (Breeding of Repugnance),” because there is always something exciting just on the verge of happening. There is an art to making death metal that sounds idiotic without being idiotic, and Cerebral Rot just gave a college lecture on the subject. Fans of death metal would do well to not miss out on this one.
The Booze: Almanac Beer Company’s Cherry Sournova
As I recall, the last Cerebral Rot album was paired with something fruity and on the sour spectrum as well; perhaps the best foil for some foul death metal is something bright and refreshing. Enter: Almanac Beer Company’s Cherry Sournova. The brewery’s Sournova series has been something I’ve had my eye on for quite a long time, but the price tag on a four pack always managed to scare me away, until a recent Treat Yo Self day saw me throw financial concerns out the window, and I’m very glad I did. Reading up on this beer, I now understand where the price tag comes from; there is quite a bit of love, care, and time that goes into the process of making these. Unlike kettle sour ales, Cherry Sournova is naturally conditioned in oak barrels, where it is aged with real cherries and vanilla for months at a time to develop a deep flavor profile. This isn’t a sour that is going to kick you straight in the mouth, although it packs plenty of tartness, rather one that makes you think of cherry pie and late summer evenings. The vanilla rounds the flavor profile out nicely, the oak and cherry flavors play beautifully together, and the fruit flavor is rich and full of dimension rather than just being one-note puckering. Quite a treat for myself indeed.
Cheers, and as always, be good to each other,