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Blackthorn - The Rotten Ways Of Human Misery (Re-Issue)

The Rotten Ways Of Human Misery
by Gabriel "Svrtr" Zimmerman at 13 June 2017, 7:20 AM

I will say, I am surprised to be reviewing the band I am today for today I am reviewing the age old Mexican Old School Death Metal band BLACKTHORN who originally broke up in 1994, yet got back together in 2014. Admittedly I knew them very little, but I had heard them before they had gotten back together. While bands getting back together after long periods of time is not unheard of, 20 years is no feat. Regardless, today I get to present their re-release of their original first recording of The Rotten Ways of Human Misery, an album that by some accounts should be a piece of history in regards to the history of metal in Mexico. Without further ado, I will dive right in.

The album opens with “Throes of Death”, and it opens with a surprisingly slow build up. This is not to say it takes its time to establish itself though, as not far into it we are treated to the heavily thrash influenced sounds that is OSDM. It features great riffs and unique progression that does not feel incredibly randomly strewn together, however it does not feel incredibly unique truthfully. While relatively masterfully made and composed, it does feel like it simply is a composite of previously created death metal albums from the late 80s of Death Metal. There is also the matter of mastering, in which I feel it could have been done better. Some elements feel too washed out at times, and this is not to say it is because of opting for an older production sound but rather, as stated, the balance between each instrument. Admittedly this is a minor point that one tunes out after a song or two, but it is always noticeable the first few times one listens to each song and is not something that should be overlooked.  Following this is “Gangrene”, and the emphasis on this song is certainly on the guitar aspects throughout the song. Of course though, for me to say that the focus is on guitars without delving into the guitar solo would be a travesty, and the guitar solo is shredding by every account in every way imaginable. From the simple yet effective riffs from the rhythm guitars to the stretches of solos and shows of technical capabilities, BLACKTHORN certainly encapsulates the feel of old death metal solos, though it does still contain the feeling of perhaps lacking in originality (though noticeably less so).

While following this would normally be “Embryonic Mutilation”, I will instead focus on the bonus tracks for both it and “Harrowing Beheading”. I will apologize as I feel I can say with the utmost certainty that both of these tracks were re-recorded, and as such had to have been done by a different vocalist whose name I could not find. Though one could argue that in these newer tracks that the problem of out of balance mastering persists, it is almost certainly intentional as it is almost exclusively in the blaring drums. This is likely just due to the intensity of the drums. I will admit that the vocals are somewhat drowned out, and that the new vocalists sound is a bit garbled and makes it harder to hear due to the nature of the style, however I feel that is not so overly apparent a problem as to avoid this song as the intensity of everything together accentuates the whole song, from the drum beat to the solos. What BLACKTHORN has created comes very close to what I see as being the epitome of the perfect blend of the old eviscerating tempos of old school death metal with the re-invigoration of the brutality of the genre, and in sum that it comes closer to a perfect modern creation of the genre. This goes for both bonus tracks in every point, from the drums to the vocals and guitar riffs.

I will admit, I am quite interested in what the band might make with them now being back together. While the vocalist’s name eludes me (regrettably) and I am not a fan of how it turns out, I am sure that what the band produces may be of great quality and that the vocals will become refined with time too. The issue of originality may remain a problem, and mastering may be a problem too, yet both can be overcome by the band I am sure. I look forward to seeing what they produce in the near future.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 6
Memorability: 8
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1 - Throes of Death
2 - Gangrene
3 - Embryonic Mutilation
4 - Criminal Ecstasy
5 - Human Abbatoir
6 - Harrowing Beheading
7 - Slow Extinction of Life
8 - Traumatic Survival
9 - Buried Alive (Underground Agony)
10 - Harrowing Beheading (Bonus Track)
11 - Embryonic Mutilation (Bonus Track)
Mark D’Santiago - Bass
Armando Mondragόn - Drums
Eric Olvera - Guitars
Guillermo Anaya - Guitars
Paul John Mallory - Vocals (R.I.P 2013)
Record Label: Chaos Records


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