Garroted‘s first demo attempts to be restlessly progressive death metal by virtue of sheer rate of turnover of riffs, but comes up short on creating a consistent narrative of rolling highs and lows. The inherent nature of these riffs is a twisting, corkscrewing one, but that of itself is no reason for pillorying a young band’s hyperactive efforts; a packet of notes, a riff, can be as convoluted as one pleases, provided the next packet commences in key or in the same consonant space, either ascending or retreating in mode. It is the stuff in the crevices – the “bridge” on a microcosmic level – that makes the experience seamless, but Garroted on more than one occasion give this aspect short shrift.
Let it be said that death metal obviously doesn’t work by such strictly melodic rules. There is much to be said for an occasional rupture in the fabric of harmonic convention, for it kills lethargy, and breaks open a song in ways that wouldn’t have existed by following the safe road.
But any one song can only sustain so many of these breaks. And when the breaks occur in a songscape almost entirely absent of memorable motifs for the listener to orient himself around, where riffs don’t have real evocative cadence, and are caught in a perpetually transitional role, the effect becomes an intensely alienating one, and any aspired-to progression, gratuitous.
If there are a few questions that I can be allowed to ask of Garroted, they would be whether composition flows predominantly from one mind, or if there is a more democratic spread in writing duties. Whether riffs are written first , with the best of the lot assembled into songs, or if the skeleton for a song exists at the outset and is fleshed out as the process develops. My hunch leans towards a speed metal-like patching of discrete riffs and sections written at different stages in time, which ultimately makes for a jarring listening experience.