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Review: Lay Down Rotten - Gospel of the Wretched
Lay Down Rotten
Gospel of the Wretched

Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 44:04
Tracks: 9
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: May 20, 2009
Reviewed by: Jason Cominetto
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3/5 (60%) (4 Votes)

When I first heard Lay Down Rotten, I was extremely underwhelmed. I felt that their sound had potential, but was not fully developed to the best it could be. I made this analysis sometime in 2008, a little while after the band's fourth release, Reconquering the Pit was released. Now it is 2009 and the band's follow-up, Gospel of the Wretched, has recently been released, and sadly, my opinion has not changed too much.

The first problem with Lay Down Rotten's sound is the overly fuzzy guitars. To others this may be so minuscule it's not even noticeable, but I prefer my guitars to either have a very clean tone or a very distinct one. For the most part, the tone of the guitars on this album sound as if the guitarists couldn't really decide on what sort of sound they wanted, got lazy, and picked a fuzz effect at random. This leaves the guitars sounding bland and boring.

Secondly, the vocalist is definitely the weakest member of the band. Death Metal vocalists have to be into the music to give their songs a real heavy and mean vibe, but this guy doesn't sound too into it, and frankly sounds a bit over-produced and fake.

Yet, perhaps the biggest flaw of the album is the consistency of the tracks. Each song sounds like a slight variation of the same riff in the same tuning used in the other songs. For example, songs like "Altering the Whore" and "Conditioning the Weak" are pretty good and have a nice groove to them, but when all songs sound like them, they begin to feel watered-down. This uniformity of sound, on top of the vocalist's shortcomings, sucks out any emotion and message these songs could have held.

So, as of now in my review it seems my opinion on the band has not changed at all, and if it has perhaps it seems to have gotten worse, but that is not the case. While not without its many shortcomings, Gospel of the Wretched isn't completely terrible. The bass is more audible than usual for a release in the same umbrella as the band's sound, and the drums hold up nicely as well (especially towards the beginning of "Conditioning the Weak," making it probably the most enjoyable song on the release). Also, the simple, yet inherently heavy nature of the songs ensures that this band would be a fun one to see live.

Lay Down Rotten need to diversify and change up the structure of their songs and if they hope to make it any bigger in the competitive and ever-changing world of Metal. So while I look forward to getting into the pit at one of their shows, I doubt I will listen to this release again.

More about Lay Down Rotten...
Review: Gospel of the Wretched (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Mask of Malice (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Reconquering the Pit (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
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