Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Rottrevore - goregraphy and killviews

While I am happy to continue doing those detailed band history articles, in this case I was kind of sceptic, whether I should be doing it or not... The band Rottrevore may not be too well known to some of you, so it would be cool to introduce their story, but there's a killer interview with Mark Mastro on Voices From the Darkside webzine, which can answer to many your questions, concerning the history of this killer band, so maybe it would be better just to read this chat? But from the other hand, why not doing also an article and putting all the info together, with the appropriate update? Hmm, I was tempted and so one morning I sat down and just tried to gather as much info on the band as I could
And here is the result...
Also, I decided not to review the demo and EPs, as well as the Disembodied compilation, as all these songs have been rerecorded for the album, hope you understand :)

So, the beast called Rottrevore has been formed by a couple of guys: Mark Mastro (guitar/vocals) and Chris Weber (guitar/vocals) back in November 1989. Both have been active in one way or another with the music; Mark has been running a fanzine called Infernal Bleeding, while Chris was a guitarist in band called Chaotic Plague, with which he even recorded a demo tape titled "Bloodslime" in 1989. I don't really know anything about Chaotic Plague, except that they did just one more demo ("The Irrational Animal" in 1990) and then split up I think. Anyway, Chris and Mark joined their forces and started working on their own band and the first songs. The name, which they took, was invented by them, as they didn't want to use another well used and typical name, so they made up their own word "rottrevore". Musically the couple drew their influences from both US and European bands, mixing grinding parts with a lot of slow or mid paced, brutal death metal, taking the influences from Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower, Immolation, Autopsy, Carcass, Macrodex, Obituary, Grave... For the band both Chris and Mark took the vocal duties, playing also guitars and in the beginni
ng of 1990 - at the time, when they already had some songs ready - they started to look for additional members. They found Chris Free, a local bassist, who shared the same interests and played also in Magled Corpse and Chris asked an old friend of his, Nick Esquivel, to join as well on drums. As a four piece Rottrevore spent few months on intense rehearsing and composing the material and at the time, when they had five songs completed they decided to enter the studio, to record the first demo. "The Epitome Of Pantalgia" was recorded in June, 2nd-3rd, 1990 at Alternative Studios with Bob McCutcheon. "The Epitome Of Pantalgia" tape contained five tracks - "Intimidation", "Dismal Fate", "Spawn of Ignorance", "Actions for Loss" and "Disembodied" - and was well received by the tape traders, zines and local radio shows. Rottrevore was soon asked to release an EP for Relapse Records (Mark and Matt from Relapse used to correspond a lot) and so in 1991 they released "Copulation Of The Virtuous And Vicious" 7"EP with three new tracks ("Unbeknownst", "Crude Domination", "Ceased by Failure") and a newly recorded version of "Intimidation" (the band thought that the demo version of this song wasn't as good as it should have been). Also in 1991, in May, Rottrevore entered the studio for the third time to re-record the track
"Disembodied" for a death metal compilation entitled "Pantalgia". During this time Rottrevore played many gigs, locally as well as in Cleveland, Rhode Island, Buffalo - with bands like Incantation, Mortician, Impetigo, Sathanas / Bathym, Phlegm, Disharmonic Orchestra.
Several months after the EP, in September of 1991, Nick Esquivel left the band and they found a replacement drummer by the name of Bob O'Lexa. With him behind the drums set Rottrevore recorded (in May, June 1992 at the Gamut Studios) another 7"EP "Fornication In Delirium", which was released by the Dutch label called Cenotaph Records (the same, which also released EPs of Utumno, Gorefest and Eulogy). This EP had two songs: "Unanimous Approval" and "Conspiracized". Additionally they also recorded a track entitled "Clogged Sewer Pipe" for the "Son Of Bllleeeeaaauuurrrrgghhh!" grindcore compilation released by Slap A Ham Records (the idea was to gather several bands with songs no longer than 10-20 seconds). Shortly after, the band once again, found themselves in need of a drummer due to the departure of Bob O'lexa. Because of the quick and unexpected line-up change, Bob is credited for both aforementioned sessions but Jason Graham (drums) was actually pictured on the back of the "Fornication In Delirium" EP. Jason from the other hand recorded the debut full length album together with Rottrevore. As the band was quite slow with writing the new material, this album turned out to be more or less a compilation of all early songs (except "Intimidation", which was left off because it was already featured on two other recordings) plus two new songs "Jesters Of Recession" and "Incompetent Secondary". It was recorded at Audiomation Studios, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 2nd & 3rd, 1993 and then mixed (by John West and both Mark and Chris) through February, March and July. Mastering was done by Tom Walsh at the Electronic Tommyland Studios in August 1993. "Iniquitous" was released by Drowned Productions on limited to 1000 copies CD in December 1993. The artwork for the album was done by Mark Mastro (he also did the artwork for all previous releases of Rottrevore, as well as he drew logos for bands like Funerus, Immolation, Chaotic Plague, Derketa, Abominator). But despite the good reception of "Iniquitous" the band split up in 1995. It all started when Mark Mastro left Rottrevore due to musical differences and family matters.
Chris tried to continue with some other members, but the chemistry wasn't right and so Rottrevore split up, but it is not the end of their story. After the split up Mark Mastro formed Eviscium in 2001, together with John Gasperin on guitar, Sharon Bascovsky from Derketa on bass and Jared Altamare also from Derketa on drums. This old school death metal band released a MCD titled "Underneath the Buried" in 2003 for Still Dead Productions. Nowadays I think Eviscium also split up. The rest of old Rottrevore haven't been active musically for years.
In 2005 Necroharmonic released a compilation CD "Disembodied", which contained all the demo and EP songs of Rottrevore. Finally in 2009 Xtreem Music, a label ran by Dave Rotten from Avulsed and Drowned Productions, re-released "Iniquitous" on CD and LP (amazing green splatter LP, limited to 500 copies), both versions featuring three live bonus tracks. More so the band had reunited with the intentions of playing the New Jersey Death Metal Fest in October 2009 but finally cancelled their appearance. They ultimately did reunite in 2011 with the new line up: Chris Weber (guitar / vocals), Chris Free (bass) and
new members: Jared Lubawski (guitars) and Christian Easley from Pulsepherion on drums (who also joined Rottrevore in 1995 shortly before the split up). Easley did manage to record with the band three new songs, before quitting in 2013. The new demo was titled "Blind Sided Attack" and was released in digital format, containing three new tracks ("Hung by the Eyesockets", "Overcome with Hate" and "Blind Sided Attack") of brutal, technical death metal, in classic Rottrevore style, really, continuing what songs like "Jesters Of Recession" started. In 2013 the band got new drummer, Jesse McLaughlin, and play quite few live shows around the US territory. Whether it will lead to the recording of the full length album, I don't know, but surely I hope so, as those three new songs are just damn good!
 Iniquitous (LP 1993)
Recorded: Recorded at Audiomation Studios, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on February 2nd & 3rd, 1993. Mixed thru February, March & July 1993. Mastered in August 1993 at Electronic Tommyland Studios.
Recording line up: Chris Free (Bass), Chris Weber (Vocals, Guitars), Jason Graham (Drums) and Mark Mastro (Guitars, Vocals)
Review: This misty and cold morning would usually make me listen to something black metal, but for a change today I picked up something way more brutal and destructive, hoping it will cheer me up and fill me with some lethal energy for the day. And fuck, it did so much! At the same time I thought “wow, this album is so fantastic and I haven’t written anything about this band so far, also it is quite rare to read anything about them at all, so I’ll do this review!”. And so, I’m writing this text and the band I’m talking about is called Rottrevore. To many of you this moniker will bring great memories of one of the most legendary US death metal bands, one which have to be mentioned along with the likes of Incantation, Goreaphobia, Suffocation and Baphomet as one of the best and most brutal bands from the early 90’s. They will catch your attention and let you recognize them instantly, once you see their awesome logo and obviously also when you hear the killer music. This truly is a fuckin legend. Formed back in 1989 Rottrevore did just one demo and a couple of EPs, before recording and releasing the only album “Iniquitous” through Drowned Productions. I actually for many years only owned “Copulation of the Virtuous and Vicious” EP, having “Iniquitous” on tape, which someone recorded for me in rather bad quality. As it often happens nowadays the original pressing of the CD costs a lot of money and is just difficult to get, so I was very, very happy once I have found out that Xtreem Music will release “Iniquitous” on CD as well as on the LP! I do realize that many labels re-release the old albums or demos nowadays and not all of them really should be instantly called cult and some may not even be worth being re-pressed, but definitely this Rottrevore classic LP is one of those materials, which just had to be re-released. And I am so happy to have this stuff on vinyl now… Released on wonderful green splatter record, which looks like some sort of nuclear fireworks it is awesome! And the original artwork looks very impressive in the huge 12”LP format. I am happy also that Xtreem took everything seriously and so you’ll find there also an insert with the lyrics and some old band photos, there’s even the old thanks list, so this vinyl has been released in very appropriate way. And music wise… well, this is fantastic brutal death metal. I already mentioned some other US bands, like Incantation and Baphomet and definitely Rottrevore is in the same league and quality wise they’re equally good. Add to this list a bit of Napalm Death, as well as the masters from Finland like Abhorrence, Demilich and Purtenance and you know what this is all about! Once “Jesters of Recession” begins and you hear those massive, brutal heavy riffage and deep growls of Chris Weber and Mark Mastro you feel like something exceptional is about to be played and those sounds truly can make your ears bleed! And when you start to bang your head it will turn out that you cannot, cause your body has already been dismembered and all life fluids are slowly dropping away with blood! “Iniquitous” is a phenomenal album. I love the production of it, which I think is quite close to the old Baphomet recordings, with quite similar guitar tone (I really love this one!), but maybe with the difference that Rottrevore seems to be even heavier, especially with those low, deep and completely unreadable growls. The music is not really too fast, it rather concentrates on mid paced or sometimes slow tempos, but some grinding ferocities can be spotted here and there. Here and there you may also get surprised by a very cool guitar solo or something like that – “Dismal Fate”, which definitely is one of the best tracks, very close to Napalm Death and early Bolt Thrower in many ways, serves here as a great example for that, as definitely Rottrevore didn’t aim just for the brutality, for the sake of being brutal, but managed to combine it with a very good songwriting, some more catchy riffs and sick, dark, creepy atmosphere. My favourite tracks are “Dismal Fate”, “Spawn of Ignorance” and “Jesters of Recession”, to mention these three only, but if I am to be honest – which I always am – I can consider the whole album as a complete crusher, with no fillers, but just a strong and gut ripping material. And I guess there’s only one thing, which I don’t like so much about “Iniquitous” – the lyrics on this album. Rottrevore has been writing about social and political issues, which have never been my favourite kind of the lyrics in death metal. You know, you see the band’s logo and that awesome monstrous artwork and you can expect some sort of horror / gore album – and it would be cool, but instead you read about corruption, fucked up political system and how it enslaves people… OK, I agree these are important matters, but in death metal I rather prefer to read different sort of the lyrics. Sorry, if you don’t agree – and I know that there were many bands, which wrote the social / political lyrics, Napalm Death and Death for instance – but this is how I feel about it. This re-issue of “Iniquitous” contains three bonus tracks and all are live recordings from 1992. I usually am quite sceptic about such additions and not always appreciate them, as sometimes the sound quality sucks balls. In this case it is not so bad and I can live with the fact of having these live recordings on my vinyl… One of those tracks – “Clogged Sewer Pipe” – is pretty useless, to be honest, as it is just short grinding tune, but two others – “Ceased by Failure” and “Disembodied” – are fine. All in all, with or without those live tracks, “Iniquitous” is damn awesome album and I can only strongly recommend you getting it and adding it to the collection
of your old school cult death metal releases; it must be there just as much as “The Dead Shall Inherit” or “Effigy of the Forgotten”.
Standout tracks: “Dismal Fate”, “Spawn of Ignorance”, “Actions for Loss”, “Jesters of Recession”
Final rate: 90/100

Blind Sided Attack (demo 2012)
Recorded: unkown
Recording line up: Chris Free (Bass), Chris Weber (Vocals, Guitars), Christian Easley (Drums)
Review: I usually don’t bother about any digital releases, which bands or labels provide me, as I have just too many CDs or LPs gathered around my house to listen to, but in some cases – if it is the only way to listen to something – I give up and just go for it. You know, I always take my mp3 player with me, when going to work anyway, so I can use this time to hear some new stuff… And in case of Rottrevore and their new demo "Blind Sided Attack" I just had to opt for the digital music – the demo is available on the band’s ReverbNation profile – because this is truly awesome band and "Blind Sided Attack" is their first release for over 15 years, so it is something truly exceptional. Once I’ve found out that there are some new songs from this band, I had to hear them! Sure, it is a pity that the demo hasn’t got a nice physical release – on CD or tape – but at least Rottrevore entered the studio and did record something. So, why not checking it? Obviously there were many comebacks in the recent years and not all of them were that good… for instance I feel quite disappointed by what such legendary bands as Purtenance, Cancer, Convulse, Brutality or Killing Addiction offered with their comeback recordings. They were just not as good as I expected and far too mediocre for such good bands and obviously we had a right to demand something more astonishing from bands, which used to shred us all with some exceptional releases back in the early 90’s. OK, I’ll be honest – there are also some comebacks, which turned out awesome like Asphyx, Goddefied, Desultory… Anyway, it is kind of problematic thing. Yes, we must require something more than just plain and simple, mediocre playing, which will be forgotten 6 months later… but from the other hand many of these guys, who used to play in those cul
t bands didn’t give a shit about death metal for years probably, so can we expect that they’ll feel this passion, enthusiasm and energy, which is required in this genre? Well, for sure I was also sceptic for the new Rottrevore songs. But fuck, "Blind Sided Attack" proved me wrong and I really, really fuckin like this demo so much! Right from the first song it turned out that Rottrevore has still guts and energy to play intense, brutal and fuckin awesome death metal! “Hung by the Eyesockets” (nice title!) is such a killer tune, filled with merciless, intense, mighty, technical riffing and crushing drumming and of corpse also with great guttural vokills. This song is superb and I must admit that it is also nicely varied, with some slower parts here and there as well and in total it really reminds me the mighty Incantation and other bands like Funebrarum! And the two next songs – title track and “Overcome With Hate” – are equally great and I can only recommend them to the fans of the classic US death metal. Tempo wise they are rather slow or mid paced, but they’re also very heavy and massive sounding… Oh, just listen to those killer riffs, great – some quite lengthy – guitar leads, which give something extra to the songs - like in "Blind Sided Attack", which with that solos turned into dark, atmospheric tune – very, very good stuff! Finally, also the drumming, the vocals are great and the production is also top notch and perfect for this kind of music. Wow. Just WOW!!!!! Rottrevore came back and I am very happy about it, "Blind Sided Attack" is amazing recording, so please guys, release it in a physical format, as otherwise it is just a fuckin waste of good music. I want to have it on CD or 10”MLP, do you understand??
Standout song: All of them!
Final rate: 90/100

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