Slowly They Rot
CoC talking to Ontario's Rotting
by: Adam Wasylyk
Those who live in the vicinity of Toronto know that we've just entered what could be called a prosperous time concerning the state of metal. Finally some decent shows have come to our fair city, acts including Entombed, Morbid Angel, Incantation, Vader... the list goes on. What most people forget is that our indie bands are always here, whether the times are good or bad. With Toronto's metal scene now having a renewed sense of life, Newmarket's Rotting enter this auspicious time at the height of its glory, its crowning achievement being their new CD _Crushed_.

Death metal to the core, Rotting (comprised of Korey Arnold on vocals, Keith Devry on drums, Rob Macaulay / Mike Belfry on guitar and Jeff White on bass) have never had to prove how heavy or aggressive they are. Need proof of the sheer heaviness of this band? Look no further than track one on _Crushed_, "Sexually Tortured", just to see how fucking heavy this band can get. Blast beats, guttural vocals and a slight Swedish influence... and what really gets me going: catchiness. There are many memorable tunes here, and if you think this is just a Suffocation clone then you're sorely mistaken. Crushed, indeed.

"Whatever people want to tag us with, it's fine", begins drummer Keith Devry on how he feels about the tag "brutal death metal" being placed on the band's music. "I know we're death metal. I guess we're kind of brutal because of the lyrics and the aggression in the music. But there's so much out there, so many other bands that people would consider more brutal than us. It seems that bands instead of being faster or heavier, everyone wants to be more brutal. I wouldn't say something like we're the most brutal band in the world, but I guess I can see someone calling us brutal."

Devry also revealed that the material on _Crushed_, being as "brutal" as it may, is in fact a bit dated as far as when it was actually written. "The material on it is about two years old, so it's not really a representation of who we are now", states Devry. "Now we're faster and probably heavier. [The new material] has been referred to as "old school", as people have told us that they hear the old school roots in it. I guess that's true to a certain extent, because all of us grew up during the evolution of death metal, starting in the late '80s. So I guess a lot of that influence wasn't found on _Crushed_."

Rotting's new CD can be found on the fledgling death metal label United Guttural, which is owned by Rich Lipscomb, who is better known for his work in the band Fleshgrind. On how they signed with them, Devry commented: "We met Rich in Milwaukee [at the Metal Fest] a few years ago, and that was the first time we saw Fleshgrind play. Later on during the festival we eventually got to meet him, got to talking and exchanged addresses. A couple of years ago we played in London with Suffocation and Fleshgrind, we got to talking and he was talking about starting a distro or a label or something like that, and he wanted to keep in touch. So we exchanged phone numbers. So the middle of last year he got in touch with us as he had started [the label] and we had already recorded _Crushed_, so things took off from there."

If there was just one thing that could sum up what this album represents, it would be the cover art. A picture of a corpse that appears to have listened to this album once too many times... well, I'll let Keith explain. "Well, at first the album was going to be called "Unholy Penetration", which would have had a picture of the god of Sodomy screwing a nun up the ass for the cover. As we tried to work images that way, it would just turn out to be really fake looking. Korey looks at a lot of that [gore] stuff on the internet, so we passed around a few pictures amongst each other, and he came up with the new name _Crushed_. It's also supposed to be symbolic as far as the music goes; crushed."

Apparently Canadian Customs wasn't too impressed with the new album... at least on looks alone. "Rich sent up a couple of hundred _Crushed_ CDs, so the government wanted to see what was coming up from down there in all of these boxes. I think what happened was they read the lyrics, as they never gave a reason why they were holding it, but I suppose [one of them] sent a copy to Ottawa for review. Everything turned out OK afterward. They ended up sending all of them, even though about ten of them were smashed and most of the rest had the jewel case centre, the thing that holds the CD, it was like someone had put their finger on them and crushed them all."

I was curious as to what Devry thought of the present Toronto metal scene, to get an opinion from a band who's been through the good times and the bad. "It's better than what it was before. It's growing. I'm starting to notice a lot more kids wearing [metal] shirts, that was kind of non-existent for a couple of years, as everyone was just wearing solid colours. The album sales always seem pretty high, but the show turnouts weren't so hot."

So since _Crushed_ consists of older material, I conclude by asking if there's any new direction that the band are going into. "I was told that [the new material] sounds a lot like Rotting, but it's not Rotting", Devry states. "I think we have a lot more groove to us now, and of course a lot of fast parts -- we've gotten faster. The song structures have kind of changed a bit as well, because when Jeff headed out to Calgary for school, Rob and I started to do a lot of the writing. If anything, it's gotten heavier. A lot heavier."

Rotting will be quite busy in the upcoming months. They've already played the Ohio Death Fest, and are aiming to play both the Montreal Death Fest and the Milwaukee Metal Fest as well. You've been warned.

Contact: United Guttural, P.O. Box 752, Grayslake, IL 60030 USA Contact: Rotting, c/o Keith Devry, 312 Buckingham Road,

Newmarket, ONT, L3Y-6K5, Canada

(article submitted 15/6/1999)

8/12/1995 A Bromley Rotting: Independant Feature
2/4/1997 A Bromley 4 Rotting - demo
1/10/2001 A Wasylyk Cryptopsy / Solus / Rotting / Horde of Worms Canadian Carnage
6/9/1996 A Gaudrault Suffocation / Fleshgrind / Obscene Crisis / Rotting Gasping For Air
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