Released: 2006, Rotting Corpse
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Now here´s a document of a metal band what I seriously call a great band document. Those people of you who were involved with the tape trading scene in the ´80s, surely may still remember this relentless Texas-based underground Thrash Metal band called Rotting Corpse, don´t you? The band recorded 4 demos between 1986-90 that were hugely spred across the underground tape trading scene by thousands and thousands metal fans back in the day, and I´m sure most of you got to hear at least one of those because those demos were available everywhere on every tape trader´s trade lists.
The DVD starts off with an ironic phrase of Rotting Corpse´s vocalist/guitarist Walter Trachsler spitted out in 2005: “This shit was for rejects. This music was for people who didn´t fit in...”. In one sense it, it really made actually some sense as Rotting Corpse, ironically, never got signed by any label. Not because they weren´t good enough and have no talent - or whatsoever, to get signed, but because they wanted to keep that status as a true underground metal band for themselves and not become ´a mainstream band´ by getting signed. Ha, pretty damn hilarious if you ask me. “Thrash shouldn´t make money” as Walter´s theory was. The guys were young, and such idealistic persons at that time - and therefore they probably decided to stay as an underground band to the very end, and not letting the band to get signed to any label back in those days, not even by accident.
For those who don´t know yet, I think it should be mentioned that Rotting Corpse was formed by Walt Trachsler and Jim “Moe” Mulqueen (RC´s vocalist) in July 1985. Both of the guys were known each other working as roadies for Pantera in the early ´80s. The documentary about Rotting Corpse features many shorts interviews from such guys as Rodney Dunsmore (vocalist of Devastation), Jason McMaster (vocalist for both Watchtower and Broken Teeth), Scott Fulwiler (texasmetalunderground.com), Wes Weaver (longtime metal radio D.J.), etc. – and of course the (ex-) guys of the band are in important roles when telling the story of the band right from the beginning. John Perez (Solitude Aeturnus), who was playing another guitar in the Rotting Corpse line-up between 1985-87, tells f.ex. how he quit football playing in order to start a metal band back in the day. He tells how worried he was about finding guys to play in the same band with him who would have a similar taste musically to John´s. He actually never liked the band name, Rotting Corpse that was found kind of accidentally by Walt when seeing one magazine laying down, with dead bodies all over the cover. And that was it.
There´s heaploads of interesting, very detailed and funny footage both from off – and onstage on this DVD (earliest clips dating back to 1987 – and newest being from 2005), showing perfectly what Rotting Corpse was all about, and what kind of status they had in general in the metal scene in the ´80s, especially in the Texas underground metal scene. The band was known for their furious live shows, and they always had huge moshpits going on in their shows wherever they performed back in the day. The guys f.ex. tell that the most memorable show for them was probably their show together with Devastation and Angor Wat which they played in Corpus Christi, Texas in August 1986. They called it “The End of Summer Slam” in which 600 kids attended in, and who had formed the biggest moshpit the guys of Rotting Corpse had ever seen during their whole career. When listening to Rotting Corpse, to me, they sounded pretty much like Exodus during the BONDED BY BLOOD –days, added with Slayer´s HELL AWAITS -days in tiny slices in a good mixture, and I guess I´m not alone making this particular comparison to them. One of the funniest things about this band was that they had a pretty long tuning sessions after each song they played - sometime tuning 10 minutes before getting their instruments tuned enough. There´s even a couple of those tuning clips shown in this DVD which look actually pretty damn hilarious indeed. Funny stuff. Also, one of the guys´ most obscure gigs happened at one garage in Houston which started out from kind of a joke when the band´s vocalist Walt told to some kinds that they can play fuckin´ anywhere, even if someone´s backyard if it was meant to be. So they went and played a gig at that small garage. “It totally killed...!” like Wes Weaver commented about that particular, intimate ´show´ from Rotting Corpse.
Actually I don´t wanna say anything else except that last thing that “Circus of Fools” is absolutely a mandatory stuff for any true underground metal fan simply because it´s been made by the true underground metallers for true underground metal maniacs. And fuckin´ yes, Rotting Corpse does rule - just no matter how you look at it. And why does Rotting Corpse rule so much then? Let Walt from the band explain why: “It´s supposed to be ´larger-than-life´, it´s supposed to be fuckin´ in-yer-face, it´s supposed to be what´s it´s not suppose to be”. That´s what Rotting Corpse tried to be and do indeed...