Fresh(ish) off last year’s split with power-violence warheads World Peace, Oakland’s Cell Rot is a fast and fierce hardcore band who is willing to say what no one else will, the world is ending, but it’s happening too slowly, and that makes it suck that much harder.
From ocean acidification, rain forest deforestation, rising temperatures, melting glaciers, fresh water poisoned by industrial refuse, globe-halting infectious diseases, and food so packed with sugar, antibiotics, pesticides, and other additives that your body thinks it’s going into apoplectic shock seconds after you’ve eaten it, there are a lot of things that are killing us, and we get to watch it all happen in slow motion.
Vocalist Kyle Canyon illuminated the title of his band’s latest EP Slowly Falls Apart further, when he told Brooklyn Vegan, “Representations of the apocalypse are always shown as a flash happenings, the push of a button and the worlds over. But we’re not getting the ending we were promised, instead it all just slowly falls apart.” There are no brakes on nuclear proliferation though, so he might still get his wish. However, the point stands, this is the worst way for things to end, because it’s happening over decades instead of minutes, and we all have a lot more time to think about how things could have gone differently.
Some (well, hopefully, all) of this critic is hyperbole to shock you into conscious awareness of the precarity of the present state of the environment we depend on and political and economic situation that we seemingly have no control over, but it’s also just a good setting for a hardcore record. And Slowly Falls Apart is a very good hardcore record.
Drawing from elements of power violence and Japanese hardcore, whipped into a filthy froth with the help of some well-placed thrash grooves, Cell Rot are worthy inheritors of the depraved and muscular psychosis of bands like His Hero is Gone, while joining a vanguard contemporary punk bands reviving the cacophony of GIMS such as those Western knaves Devil’s Den.
Slowly Falls Apart begins with the clamorous fire of “1000 Ways To Ruin Your Day,” whose toppling grooves will make you feel like you’re being swallowed into a sinkhole that acts as the mouth of an underground pond full of burning tar. It’s a good entry point into their world. In fact, it’s intended to be. Canyon’s vocals have a wild, convulsive quality to them, often leaning into a ruthless blackened bark, only to backswing into a sputtering purge, a trick that he pulls off stupendously on the Integrity inclined thrasher “Nightmare Realm.” The guitar work does an admirable job of hooking its claws into you in order to drag you around like a mouse under the sadistic paw of a hungry cat, especially on the rough drag of “Perpetual Progress” and the punchy gouge of “Sick Little Fucker.” Cell Rot never feels more in their element though than on the death-thrash ripper “Strangelove” with its trawling grooves and ice-pick-tip-shaped percussion, elements that are so consciously ominous you’ll swear that your about to be the recipient of an asteroid to the face.
Things may be falling apart, but while you’re still alive, you might as well enjoy the entirety of Cell Rot’s new EP via Bandcamp below.