Roiling, churning, riff-intense progressive death metal is what Garroted play on this their second recording. The band should be praised for overcoming the distractedly frenzied nature of debut demo In The Court Of Nyarlathotep; the new songs have an equally high work-rate in riffs, but from all appearances, the band now thinks of their songs as a greater composite on the way to achieving a specific mood. Accordingly, riffs are developed as variations on an original theme and then led by the nose across the breadth of the EP through many permutations. This most certainly is not background music; like Deeds of Flesh, it demands the listener’s fullest attention lest he become inextricable from its dense riff mazes.
The payoffs are diverse, on both intellectual and visceral levels. The first two songs, ‘Otherworldly Subversions: Parts I & II’, are essentially one composition, split in two halves through clever changes in tempo and differently oriented groups of notes. The rhythm guitar technique is greatly influenced by early Morbid Angel and bands verging on death metal like Sadus, meaning it is fiercely syncopated with phrases rarely reaching the kind of extended development synonymous with black metal. Yet, just like with those bands, these songs are not without an acute melodic sense, rather so that that sense is only reflected in a shattered mirror, each shard encapsulating an insinuation in the desired direction.
That end is found in ‘Into The Shivering Forest‘, a decidedly atmospheric note to sign off on. Built on past achievements as well as nods to conventional heavy metal and black metal, this song is of a kind with the band’s extra dimensional thematic aspirations and works well in this setting. But bands like Tribulation have previously done the same before reneging entirely on their metal credentials. The test for Garroted now is to not lose touch with their identity as a death metal band and use external influences, if at all, with restraint.