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House By The Cemetary – Rise of the Rotten

House By The Cemetary
Rise Of The Rotten
by Tommy Mulhern at 01 June 2021, 9:49 AM

When these guys set out to pay homage to gore horror director Lucio Fulci and his 1981 cult classic, ‘The House By The Cemetary’, they probably didn’t know it would have so many similarities to it in the end. Much like the main protagonists - the Boyle family, we have been wondering for quite a while now what kind of monster was behind that cellar door. And like the movie, there’s nothing particularly ground-breaking happening here either. The formula is stuck to throughout and the changes of pace or direction are roughly where you’d expect them to be. It’s for these very reasons people watch Fulci and it will also be why fans of 90s Swe-death will enjoy this. It’s simple, gory and solid just like its namesake.

This project has been knocking about since 2016 and originally included AUTOPSY legend Eric Cutler and Johansson along with his PAGANISER bandmate Fiebig on drums. In the meantime, Cutler was replaced by MONSTROSITY powerhouse Hrubovcak on vocals and the process got going in earnest. Seeing as it was recorded remotely, I think the producer Ronnie Bjornstrom has done a great job to weave it all together and the production is top class. The guitars are that classic ‘buzz saw’ sound that epitomised 90s death metal coming out of Sweden in particular and always reminds me of ENTOMBEDFiebigs drumming is rock solid and dynamic as always, again the slightly muted sound is befitting of the era they are going for. And this is all topped off by the vocal mastery of Hrubovcak, with his ‘made to measure’ timing and delivery. Hands down “March Of The Undead" is the best song on here; it embodies the two main elements of the movie with its sinister beginning and head stabbingly heavy riffs (sorry Daniella). “A Morbid Sense" and “Eaten By The Horrid" are the pick of the rest but all in all it’s run of the mill and doesn’t pretend to be anything more profound. I’ll confess that I thought this project, the concept and the members, would produce an album in the realm of a death metal classic. But when I made peace with it not being anywhere near that I started to enjoy the record for what it is, on a parallel with Fulci, as bubblegum for the senses.

After my first few listens, I wondered whether Johansson had spread himself a bit thin with this album. Notoriously hard working, he’s involved with numerous bands and projects in which he does the majority of the song writing. I thought with that many irons in the fire one was bound to come out cold but now I think I had missed the point. The standard-ness of the album is actually a fitting tribute to a very important era for death metal and for a director who’s known for mindless shocks, whether that was on purpose or not only the band will know. Definitely worth a spin, and it’s great to finally hear it. So, come on in, Dr Freudstein will see you now.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Rise Of The Rotten
2. Contagious Madness
3. Crematory Whore
4. Defleshed By The Seasons
5. A Morbid Sense
6. Into The Murky Depths
7. Eaten By The Horrid
8. The Wretched One
9. March Of The Undead
Record Label: Pulverised Records


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Edited 10 December 2022

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