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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

Rating: 3.5/5

Review online: September 18, 2009
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
Gospel of the Wretched

Rated 3/5 (60%) (4 Votes)

Although this is actually Lay Down Rotten's sixth full-length studio album since their debut in 2001, the first time that I came across these German deathsters was with their last album Reconquering the Pit and to be brutally honest, I wasn't particularly blown away by it. Two years on, Gospel of the Wretched is hitting the shelves; an album that, although not crushing all competition in its path, certainly manages to take a step up in both the songwriting and arrangement stakes.

Whilst these guys are frequently labeled melodic Death Metal, I feel that doesn't really do their sound justice, as these guys are a mile away from your average saccharine-soaked Gothenburg clone that the label would often bring to mind. This album in particular comes across more like a cross between Amon Amarth, Morgoth and any number of bands you'd care to pick from the early 90's Stockholm Death Metal scene (Dismember and Entombed in particular though). The powerful production job (courtesy of the renowned Dan Swanö) suits the crushing rhythms perfectly, temporarily turning your speakers into audio howitzers for the album's duration, firing riff barrages, drum roll shells and bass explosions at will, decimating any inanimate objects that happen to be in their line of fire

This album even features a couple of guest vocal appearances from the Death Metal monarchy that are Marc Grewe and Martin Van Drunen, but even the appearance of these two legends of the Death Metal scene can't push Gospel of the Wretched into the same realms as any of the releases of Pestilence, Asphyx or Morgoth. However, it does push it a lot further than the of the likes of Comecon – a forgettable band that had a revolving door policy on vocalists, also featuring both Grewe and Van Drunen in their early 90's careers

So, while Lay Down Rotten still won't be setting any hardened Death Metal fanatic's world aflame, this album certainly holds it own and is an improvement over their last release. It seems the band are definitely on the right path for greatness, just needing that little je ne sais quoi to set them apart from the countless others all clambering to reach the same pinnacle.

Other related information on the site
Review: Gospel of the Wretched (reviewed by Jason Cominetto)
Review: Mask of Malice (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Reconquering the Pit (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
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