Released: 2014, Gorehouse Productions
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
It amazes me that nearly 30 years after Death and Carcass upchucked death/gore/splatter/grind/metal onto the masses – and a good 20 years since they moved onto other things - there’s still no shortage of new bands coming along spewing the same sort of stuff. Add L.A.’s Stages of Decomposition to the list.
The band’s debut, Piles of Rotting Flesh, delivers exactly as advertised, and the band certainly don’t make any apologies for that. Like early efforts from Exhumed or Impaled – or Mortician's entire catalog – Piles is raw, rude, lewd and crude, in ample and equal quantities. “Devoured and Defecated by Swine” is an early candidate for song title of the year – and has a news report intro that is priceless.
The bonesaw raw production and gargle/puke/growl tag-team vocals of drummer Daniel Smoo and bassist Salvador Rodriguez give Piles a decidedly old-school sound that matches the lyrical grotesquerie of, say, “Cadaveric Molestation,” “Chainsaw Disemboweled Cadaver” or “Acid Bath Orgy.” And the album's low-budget vibe is also part of its deviant charm.
Were it slicker or more “professional” it would seem calculating or contrived instead of sick, dumb fun – if your idea of fun is songs about “The Butcher of Plainfield” Ed Gein, who, of course, was immortalized in Slayer's classic “Dead Skin Mask.” And these guys churn it out with foaming-at-the-mouth abandon, with Smoo’s drumming being particularly impressive as it cuts through a muddy recording that often makes mush out of Rodriguez’s bass and Cesar Barajas’ frantic riffs.
Piles of Rotting Flesh is certainly not something new, exciting or different. But these guys play it like they mean it and do a respectable brutal death metal job despite the inherent budgetary and stylistic limitations this niche is infamous for. And that's more than you can say about a lot of other gore-monger upstarts.