Review: Rothadás ‘Kopár hant… az alvilág felé’

Arguably, if there’s any form of rock music where the mother tongue of a non-English speaking vocalist isn’t going to be a barrier, it’s got to be death metal, given that the preferred vocal approach is to imitate a bath being drained. Certainly, while Hungarian originating doom death duo Rothadás may be singing in their native language, it’s also entirely possible they aren’t using actual words, given the vomitus oral outpourings from drumming grunter Lambert Lédeczy.

Rothadás 'Kopár hant... az alvilág felé'

So while the song titles remain impenetrable to those of us who don’t speak Hungarian (though I’d bet good money ’Kripta’ might means ‘crypt’), the band have thoughtfully communicated the contents of their music to us through a fantastically evocative album cover, a gloomy funeral scene that’s surprisingly subtle in the current scheme of death metal graphics.

And that cover fits the music as snug as a severed hand in a glove made of reconstituted corpse flesh, as the duo traffic in a frosty strain of slow-motion death metal that often operates at the relaxed, purposeful pace of a funeral procession. Unwilling, like many of their peers, to lean too far into either the overly melodic that swamps one end of the spectrum, or the overly cavernous ultra-doom monotony of the other, ‘Kopár hant… makes for a very well balanced five tracks of slow-motion death metal laced with sudden bursts of speed when needed.

It’s the kind of sound that evokes a genuinely creepy atmosphere when done properly but can fall into single minded tedium if not deployed with maximum care, thankfully Rothadás have a clear grasp of what they’re doing. A track like Sírkő takes its’ time to open with a gloriously mean and moody crawling riff at first, slowly gaining in tempo and intensity over time before exploding into the blasts. On paper that may same predictable, but when, on this album highlight, that gradual build is based around some seriously satisfying riffs, it’s thoroughly enjoyable. Using the old tricks in the book does not make them any less magic when performed by an expert magician, so to speak.

substantial slab of morbid sounding mid-paced death metal…

At times, as on epic closer Temető, their blood chilling take on (doom) death feels like a European echo to what current US masters Mortiferum are doing, in their knack for taking the seemingly familiar and re-sculpting it for a modern generation of death metal fans in a way that pays tribute to their forefathers, rather than aping them. The two bands also share a strong attention to songwriting skills that sets them apart from the riff salad or ‘clean guitar over distorted riff’ clichés of some in the field currently. The injection of a well-placed ringing chord in the middle of a riff, or a memorable guitar hook between the grunts, works well for them with a gratifyingly macabre feel to a fair chunk of the riffage present.

The songs can, if used as background music perhaps, blend a little too much into one another, as is often the case when a band attempt such a single minded display of genre specific music. It bears considering that this duo have been involved in multiple, very specifically stylised, musical projects on various sub-sub-sub genres of the metal spectrum (Coffinborn, Cryptworm, Tyrant Goatgaldrakona, Mörbid Carnage etc), so the cynic might argue this is perhaps too calculated an effort. But when you consider the average track time here is around the seven-minute mark, it speaks volumes that none of the songs here feel overly long, or outstay their welcome. And Rothadás are HEAVY. The crystal clear, punchy production makes everything pound against your gut nicely, with only the vocals being prone to the occasional foggy delay.

Rothadás are hardly innovative, but this is a fine, substantial slab of morbid sounding mid-paced death metal that sits nicely in the same boneyard as prime Decomposed, Derketa or Rippikoulou, and will be a rewarding listen for those who appreciate heavy riffing over chaotic nekkro bustle or mindless splatter mosh. Break out the headphones and enjoy it with spot of Halloween cemetery desecration why don’t you?

Label: Me Saco Un Ojo Records
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Jamie Grimes