The High Renaissance of Riffs
Bear with me. Starting around 1495 or 1500, leading the world in a new direction of artistic expression, the High Renaissance started in Italy, an extension or evolution of the Renaissance. Europe was moving to modernity. Some historians believe it to have started with da Vinci's The Last Supper, and it's generally accepted that it ended with the death of Raphael. It was a thirty-year period that gave humanity some of the greatest works of art upon which we've ever laid our eyes. The works of Michaelangelo, da Vinci, Raphael, and del Sarto have been and will be revered immortally.
Death metal seems to have grown into its own renaissance of sorts. With bands like Mortal Wound, Tomb mold, Blood Incantation, Gatecreeper, Ossuarium, and Witch Vomit, the sonic trajectory is clear and it's only getting better.
The last of which is what brings us here. Witch Vomit have released their second full-length album following their punishing EP, Poisoned Blood, two years ago. Buried Deep in a Bottomless Grave promotes the upward trend of the current state of death metal and has only further cemented Witch Vomit's putrid excellence.
From the get-go, we're introduced to their raw disgust via science fiction abduction. From there, the stereo-separation of the fuzzy inaugural riff envelopes the listener in pure dying ecstasy. The drums and vocals then wield then paint brushes to give us our own auricular Madonna of the Harpies.
Each track offers the listener something interesting, something to notice and hold onto. Whether it be a riff, or a syncopated drum rhythm, or an a Capella vocal, the organic production (recorded with precision by Evan Mersky, responsible for each Witch Vomit recording, and mastered by Dan Randall, of Ghoul and Exhumed fame) frames each element in what feels like a natural exhibition.
This album is not The Last Supper. It does not signal a new age of artistic expression in the extreme underground. It is also not the death of Raphael, the end of a surge of newness and deeper understanding of that art. It is, however, a grand offering worth taking notice in the midst of the greatest proliferation of death metal since the early 1990s.
Find the album on 20 Buck Spin.