Resin Tomb - Cerebral Purgatory (Cover Artwork)

Resin Tomb

Cerebral Purgatory (2023)

Transcending Obscurity

Ah a new year. The merry-go-round of new records, divisive narratives and bands splitting/reforming begins again. I know that sounds ungrateful and actually, I agree that it is. Especially when, at this time of the year, I do feel I have more time to listen to some of the stuff I get sent that I wasn’t hitherto aware of. Resin Tomb is one such record. After a couple of EP’s, the Australian 5-piece death metallers are dropping their debut record on 19th January. And I think it’s really rather good.

In terms of style, we’re more in the dissonant, high-paced death end of the spectrum as opposed to anything more cavernous or doomy. This means that the guitar tone is far wirier, cleaner and incisive than is true of many death metal records that I tend to listen to. Also, vocalist Matt Budge has a range that is genuinely impressive. Hoarse, hardcore-inflected passages where the lyrics are entirely intelligible, interweave with black-metal higher pitches and occasional gutterals as well, without it feeling like he is employing any histrionics for the sake of it. He’s not Trevor Strnad or anything, but you absolutely cannot accuse him of being one-note, either.

The musical canvas to Matt’s attack is equally dextrous. The guitars, ably handled by Brendan Auld and Matt Gordon are complex, varied, perpetually shifting and occasionally wilfully atonal, generating a real sense of unease and dread. The rhythm section also does its job more than sufficiently. Mitch Long on bass manages to underpin the winding, baffling guitar lines with a level of complexity that provides a consistency of sound but also anchors the band incredibly well. If anything, I might argue that the bass has been left slightly low in the mix, but when you have so many musicians bordering into virtuoso territory, then I suppose you can’t all be front and centre. Finally, Perry Vedelago on drums sounds like he’s having a lovely ol’ time to be honest. Heavy hitting, but with just a hint of southern-fried flair. It feels like it shouldn’t work against the grim backdrop of the general tone of the record, but somehow it does. Not only does it work in fact, but it generates a gleeful, swashbuckling ambience at points. Listen to the title track and you’ll know exactly what I mean.

It would be remiss of me to not point out that four of the 8 tracks on offer in this record come in at precisely 4:20 in length. Now, that could be a coincidence…actually, it really couldn’t, could it? Also, the intro comes in at 2:40, so that feels like half an attempt as well. And while I’m not suggesting that Resin Tomb (the name also is more than a bit of a hint) aren’t partial to a smoke, the music that they make isn’t overtly influenced by it. Or at least not in the more typical way. To me, the sound of Cerebral Purgatory is far more akin to a bad acid trip. A whirling, terrifying maelstrom of sounds, colours and ideas. In the best possible way, though. It’s a chaotic hc-influenced, half-hour blast of excoriating, fascinating, antipodean death metal. And I heartily recommend it.