Hailing from Philadelphia, Masada play a potent and toxic style of death metal. Featuring current and former members of bands such as Immolation, Crucifer, and Goreaphobia, Masada unleashed a demo titled Suffer Mental Decay in 2011, and now the band has released the five-track EP Hideous Rot. This debut CD combines old-school aggression with hints of more technical and progressive structures. It’s a challenging blend, one that not all fans of death metal will appreciate. However, I found it fully satisfying.
The EP opens with “Hideous Cerebral Pulp,” and almost instantly the drumming sounds a little weird. However, the guitar riff is infectious, at times off key but others setting down some groove-laden hooks. Then there’s the bass flashes, which will have you fist pumping almost instantly.
The instrumental “Fluteotherapy” features the flute as its central instrument, coming off as a deeply experimental piece with strange and susperic backing “vocals”. It’s a haunting track, one that has little to do with the rest of the CD.
“Exist to Rot” brings back the death metal, and this time all the instrumentation sounds much better, with the drums complementing the shredding guitar riffs. The galloping death-metal vibe is in full presence, and the bass this time churns out some truly catchy hooks. The bone-crushing intensity of this one will please fans of old-school death metal. This track features no vocals.
Up next is “Suffer Mental Decay,” and this track hearkens back to an early death metal vibe, perhaps at the dawn of the black metal craze. The song is much darker, somehow more menacing, particularly with the vocals of Cazz “The Black Lourde of Crucifixion” Grant” on display.
Closing out the CD is “Toxic Unreality,” which really ups the guitars, adding to them the spice of NWOBHM without losing the intensity of the death metal superstructure. There’s a progressive streak that serves as an undercurrent, but the aggression remains intact.
As a whole, Masada’s Hideous Rot is a pretty solid debut EP. This one is recommended to fans of brutal death metal who are looking for some experimentation (not noodling).