Various Artists - 4 Doors to Death (2016)
Unspeakable Axe Records.
Review by Trevor Proctor.
Split releases play an essential part in underground music, providing the listener with new and exclusive music from the artists involved. Quite often you may be familiar with one artist more than the other(s) so splits give you a great chance of hearing new music from familiar and not-so-familiar groups. Just released by Unspeakable Axe Records the compilation 4 Doors to Death certainly fulfills this as it features four relatively new bands from the U.S. and Canada that you may not have heard much of previously. 4 Doors to Death features Cemetery Filth from Tennessee/Georgia, Ectovoid from Alabama, Sabbatory from Winnipeg, Canada and Trench Rot from Philadelphia. Between them there are a total of ten new and exclusive tracks of dirty and ugly death metal – played and sounding exactly like it should. The CD will feature separate inlays for each band along with individual cover artwork, lyrics and band pics.
Here at the Lair we’re fans of Cemetery Filth, a band formed in 2014 with the aim of creating straightforward old school death metal. Their contribution to this split is three tracks which will serve as their second official release, following their excellent debut EP from 2014 “Screams from the Catacombs” which was reviewed by Jude here. Cemetery Filth get this release off to a flying start, going straight for the jugular with opener, “Consumption of Volition.” This track, along with their other two contributions showcase three fine tracks of up-front death metal – no dicking about, just top quality death metal that harks back to the sub-genre’s glory days with the utmost respect. Heavy, fast and featuring some fine guitar solos and drumming, Cemetery Filth certainly set a standard for this split. However, the latest, unfortunate news from the band is as follows:
“Contrary to what a few of you may read, Cemetery Filth is currently inactive. As the member that came up with the name and founded the band (google our interviews for the details), the idea that ex-members are attempting to continue under the name is odd. Those members chose to move on without my involvement. I'm also fully aware that a band is the sum of its parts, and that everyone contributes in some way, however great or small. Thus, I feel it's only appropriate to put Cemetery Filth to rest for now. Sorry to everyone wanting to hear more from us.” An absolute shame but fingers crossed this isn’t the end for this extremely promising band.
Cemetery Filth’s tracks may be hard to follow but Alabama’s Ectovoid are certainly up for it. Established slightly longer than the others they were formed in 2010 and have so far released a demo in 2011, a live album in 2013 and two full length albums which came out in 2012 and 2015. Their contribution to this release comes in the form of two new tracks of high standard blackened death metal and what’s instantly noticeable is their music is slightly slower and this slight reduction in tempo is used to establish a more oppressive and sinister atmosphere with elements of blackened death and doom to be heard heard throughout. Admittedly before hearing this compilation I hadn’t heard much from Ectovoid but their two tracks have caught my attention and I’ll be on the hunt for more of their music, an exceptional addition. Testimony to Ectovoid’s standard of music is the fact they will be supporting Morpheus Descends in Virginia on 30th January and Absu in Georgia on 24th March.
Winnipeg’s Sabbatory follow with their two track contribution. Formed in 2011 their debut demo followed in 2012, subsequently followed by full length album, “Endless Asphyxiating Gloom” in 2014. First track, “Ascension to My Holy Tomb” sees a quicker tempo restored with their straight-forward and effective no-nonsense death metal. Their second track is an interesting cover of Mortuary Drape’s “Primordial,” I’m a huge fan of Mortuary Drape and would usually be averse to covers of their music but Sabbatory have taken a fantastic song and stamped it with their own style without detracting in any way from the original. Most of the time you’d barely realize it’s a cover such is the difference of sound and approach but it’s a great and interesting addition to this excellent split.
With all three previous bands delivering music of such a high standard there’s considerable pressure on Philadelphia’s Trench Rot to maintain this standard by closing the compilation with their three track contribution. Formed in 2012 Trench Rot released their demo “Dragged Down to Hell,” during 2013, followed by their debut album “Necronomic Warfare” in 2014. Trench Rot’s music has its influences and roots firmly planted in war-themed death metal with elements of both doom and thrash thrown in for good measure. Their opener, “Hell Pilot’s Call” is a slow, menacing, riff-heavy lurcher that only picks up the tempo after the four minute mark. Trench Rot’s ability to flit between tempos and styles keeps things interesting and varied and final track, and closer to the compilation, is fittingly a cover of Death’s “Evil Dead.” Death is another band whose music has been extensively covered in the past with varying results but thankfully Trench Rot’s cover version is both a fitting tribute to Death as well as a suitable close to this fantastic split.
This is an excellent compilation for any fan of death metal that’s on the lookout for new bands, the music easily manages to sound authentic yet has plenty of individual nuances from each band to establish a degree of individuality – brilliant music from four very high standard bands and a rare split indeed in that the contributions from all the bands are each as good as the other. Normally you’d tend to favour one band’s music more than the others but with this unique compilation there’s very little between them.
An absolute must for anyone with a desire for death metal and four bands most definitely worthy of our attention.
01 - Cemetery Filth - Consumption of Volition
02 - Cemetery Filth - Dagonian Dialect... the Obelisk Unearthed
03 - Cemetery Filth - Cosmic Wraiths
04 - Ectovoid - Ash Primordial
05 - Ectovoid - Possessed by Ancient Dread
06 - Sabbatory - Ascension to My Holy Tomb
07 - Sabbatory - Primordial (Mortuary Drape cover)
08 - Trench Rot - Hell Pilot's Call
09 - Trench Rot - Powerful Kandarian Steel
10 - Trench Rot - Evil Dead (Death cover)
4 Doors to Death by Cemetery Filth, Ectovoid, Sabbatory and Trench Rot is currently available from Unspeakable Axe Records and Dark Descent Records.