Released: 2017, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Matching the death metal heft and violence of Cannibal Corpse with the tuneful savvy of At The Gates, Sweden's Cut Up – formed in 2014 from the remnants of Vomitory - delivery a massively heavy but surprisingly catchy second album. Recorded at the hilariously apt Big Balls Studios in Karlstad, Sweden, Wherever They May Rot is an absolute torrent of meaty, groovy riffs delivered with a wall-of-sound zeal that will leave your ears ringing long after the music is over.
The guitar sound here is positively HUGE as the band ease off a bit on the vintage Entombed-like buzzsaw of 2015's Forensic Nightmares in favor of more volume and density – a lot more. The resulting cacophony is punishing with a capital “P,” especially when the tag-team back-and-forth growling of bassist Erik Rundqvist and guitarist Andreas Bjornson is factored in. It takes heaviness to the nth. The “loudness war” is over folks, these guys win.
And while Rot loses some momentum with a few mediocre tunes on the back end, like the mostly low and slow, Six Feet Under-like “In the Aftermath” or “Cranium Crusher,” when it's on it's as lethal as it gets. “From Ear to Ear” and “Necrophagic Madness” get things started with brutally efficient vigor, their wicked hooks delivered in churning two-plus minute bursts powered by Tobias Gustafsson's galloping drums – even if they struggle to be heard under the thunderous guitaring of Bjornson and Anders Bertilsson. “Behead The Dead” and the black metally “By Hatred Bound” rip and tear with equal ferocity.
The title track slows things down a bit and borrows some the boot-stomp chug of the first half of Slayer's “Raining Blood” before blasting off. The initially brooding finale “Raped By The Blade” offers some epic panache with its soaring guitars at the outset until it too launches with blast-beat fury.
And that's about it for the dynamic spectrum on Rot, the rest is sheer brute force aggression with lots of memorable, razor-sharp riffs and hulking breakdown-like parts that grab on and don't let go. Rot's tightly wound songs are designed for maximum impact, and for the most part Cut Up deliver just that with bludgeoning aplomb.